Last month I got to visit Japan again. This was technically the second time I've been but I had adult money this time around, so it's basically the first time I've been.
I was able to go because my sister is currently doing an internship there for Law School as part of her program at Columbia University and I crashed at her place. Her life is significantly cooler and more interesting than mine, but don't let that distract you.
Anyways, here are some scattered thoughts and photos.
The apartment my sister's law firm gave her was situated right next to Tokyo Tower, which was pretty neat. It's situated in Azabu-jūban, apparently known for being very wealthy. This tracks with the whole law firm thing. Also it's where Sailor Moon takes place! That's cool.
As my buddy Flynn came with us this time, I used our first couple of days in Tokyo to show off some of the spots we went to before. The first was Sunshine City in East Ikebukuro. This is a big-ass mall with all sorts of neat stuff. A Detective Conan movie had just released, so that little fucker was everywhere because he's a national treasure.
The funniest thing about Sunshine City is that you see more and more foreigners, usually Americans, the closer you get to the top floor. This is because that's where the Pokémon Center is. I get it though! If you're even a little bit of a Pokémon fan, then this place is sick as hell. And I'm pretty sure everyone is a Pokémon fan, so. I spent my time there grabbing anything that had anything to do with my boy, the GOAT, the greatest Pokémon of all time, Leafeon, but the place was stuffed to the brim with Scarlet and Violet merch.
The next day we went to Shibuya. I deeply resisted the urge of pointing at stuff and going "wow, just like The World Ends With You!" Please clap.
No but for real though Shibuya is awesome it might be my favorite part of Tokyo.
As we hit the Scramble Crossing I saw someone holding a distinctly red "Nintendo Tokyo" and realized that they built a store in Shibuya in 2021, in the PARCO department store - which is apparently 20 floors tall. We did not explore all of those, but we DID go to this Nintendo Store and it was lit.
The cutest part of this store is that you could get a bottle and put a bunch of Nintendo charms inside it, as I showed in my merch post. It's so cute. 😭
This Nintendo Store was also right across from a Capcom Store I didn't know about either. It had a bunch of cute merch, and a giant statue of Ryu, from Streets.
Also MewTwo was there.
This place had a cool station where you could make a custom t-shirt of a Pokemon and then it'd get printed for you then and there about an hour later. I didn't have the time to do this but I enjoyed watching a girl that looked to be 7 or 8 years old in deep concentration as she designed her Sylveon shirt, adding and removing patterns and hearts until it was perfected.
Next to all THIS (and yes, I'm still talking about one floor) was a Shonen Jump Store.
Day 3 took us to Akihabara. We spent most of our time in the biggest store there, which had 9 floors of all sorts of merch. It's kind of wild. Japanese homes are so small I dunno where they have the room to put all this shit, but it's getting sold, so.
We went to the Square Enix Cafe as well. It was mid tbh, mostly because they were promoting some mobile game that was never going to come to the states. But the shop attached to it was pretty cool!
Aaaand then I got sick for two or three days.
It sucked! But I stayed home and drank all the liquids, because after that we took the bullet train to...
Osaka had an entirely different vibe from Tokyo. It was hot as hell, for starters, but also it was just a little less...pristine? Messy, but in a fun way. We spent the first day in Dotonbori, aka "that place in Yakuza." There was the giant crab:
And the giant man:
And the giant river!
We saw the running man at night too, but that was on a different day.
We also happened to walk past the Eorzea Cafe, which was much cooler than the Square Enix one, lol. Contrary to belief, I am, in fact, a fan of the game! They played music from it, gave us a bunch of cute job-themed coasters, and the food and drinks were all job and character themed as well. I got an incredibly sickly sweet Warrior drink, and grabbed some merch before we dipped.
I also had Osaka Takoyaki, so check that off the bucket list!
The next day we made the impromptu choice to check out Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan. Not much to say here tbh, it was fun and also blisteringly hot. And like, the heat in Japan hits different than where I'm from, because it's humid too. The shade doesn't save you like it does in CO.
On the last day we went to Osaka Castle. I actually built a nanoblock set of the castle before we went, so it was cool to experience it in person.
There are a whole bunch of museum pieces inside that were super cool to see and learn from!
After that it was off to...
This might have been my favorite place in the trip. The Kyoto vibes were even more different than the previous two cities: super quiet and calming - even the weather was cooler.
We were parked up right next to Inari Shrine, so we walked around a bit and took some pictures of it as the sun set when we first arrived.
The next day we hiked the shrine. Folks: I was out of shape. In fact, climbing that mountain is what convinced me to get back in shape when I came back from Japan, lol. That said, despite being immensely out of breath, we did make it to the top, and it was an extremely pretty hike the whole way.
Also Miku was there.
We went downtown after that, which was fun, again, despite the heat.
On the last day we checked out a giant mall next to the shinkansen station. It had a cool as hell Gundam Base. I didn't post many pics by the way, but Witch From Mercury was EVERYWHERE we went. People love those wacky lesbians over there.
Then it was back to Tokyo for the final few days!
Tokyo 2: Electric Boogaloo
I used our last few days to check out the places I wanted to go to when I was sick. We hit up the Skytree Tower to start with.
I knew about the Tower, but I didn't know about all the stuff around it, like the Kirby Cafe:
There was another Jump store too. But the peak for me was the Nanoblock store they had. I don't have pictures of it because I started hyperventilating and buying every set I saw.
Next day we went back to Shibuya and checked out Tower Records! The vibes were immaculate, and it made me really want a vinyl player. No idea where I'd put one tho... :/
Also there was an Apex Pop-up Shop inside for some reason.
And that was pretty much it! It was an incredible trip and I'm extremely happy that I was lucky enough to make it happen - doubly so after being absolutely bodied by my last quarter of Grad School. I hope I can go again in a few years, but even if I can't, I was able to finally go to Osaka and Kyoto, so I'm already pretty dang satisfied.
That's about it! If you got this far, thanks for indulging me!