Japan trip notes – Part 1 (9.27~9.28)

I haven’t been updating much with translations (because I’ve been swamped with homework) but I had a one week break from school recently which I spent in Japan. I’ll be updating with trip notes for the next few posts!

Japan – Day 1 (9.27)

I reached Tokyo after an eight hour flight. It’s currently the off-peak season for travel to Japan, so that probably explains why the plane was nearly empty.

I had two seats to myself!

There was Thermae Romae on the in-flight entertainment.

It was hilarious!

The other movies I had wanted to watch were Space Brothers (Uchuu Kyoudai) and Library Wars (Toshokan Sensou), but I ended up reading manga on my phone instead.

Sakanaction’s new single was in the music section.

Strangely, they had the Aquarion Evol soundtrack too.

Lunch was good,

because there was Haagen Daaz for dessert.

I spent the rest of the flight sleeping. When I reached Narita, it was already 5 in the evening, and when I reached the hotel, it was past 6.

The sunset from the Keisei Skyliner.

I was in a rush because I wanted to catch Omodaka’s live at Shibuya, which was at 7, and I would just barely make it in time. I locked my luggage in my room after checking in and headed to Shibuya as fast as I could, but obviously, I got lost on the way there. I spent almost 30 minutes looking for the place (Last Waltz by shiosai), and I gave up squinting at the map, so I decided to call them and ask for directions. Apparently, I was in the right place all along, but it was in the basement, which was why I didn’t see it.

It was 7.40 when I got there. The guy at the counter asked me who I came to see (The lineup for the night, Datsukouchiku Japon vol 3, consisted of three acts), so I told him that I was there for Omodaka, which he noted down on a list. The entrance fee was 2800 yen. Fortunately for me, the performances hadn’t begun yet, so I made my way to the seating area and got a seat second row from front.

Last Waltz by shiosai is a pretty small, intimate space. The dining area is about 5-6 meters wide, with a raised platform to the right, where there was a sound booth and drinks counter. There were about 7 tables and a few chairs in between, so the place could hold around 30-40 seated guests, and probably a lot more standing. There were less than 20 people that night, which came as a surprise because I expected a huge crowd. Still, small spaces have their charm, and I was excited to be able to see one of my favorite electronic acts live for the first time. For the uninitiated, Omodaka is an electronic music unit which brings together chiptune, enka, and the occasional classic Japanese folk song. The audience was mostly female, and the group sitting at the front row table were in their late 20s.

The stage was already set up for Omodaka (With his signature computer, DS, Gameboy, and PSP), so I thought I might as well take a picture before it started. And just as I opened the camera app, Omodaka appeared!

I don’t remember the set list in detail, but it was very similar to his set at Tokyo Blip Festival 2011 (youtube), at twice that length.

After opening with Pac-Man, he played Plum Song, and then did a ‘band’ introduction with the Yosawya-san instrumental. He showed us his laptop, DS, Gameboy and PSP. I was close enough to see those dense MIDI patterns on his DS-10 scrolling through as the music played! After that, he also played Hietsuku Bushi, Fortunate 1mark, Cantata no. 147 and Kokiriko Bushi.
A good part of Omodaka’s live is about audience interaction, and he even danced on the chairs in front of the stage while playing with the Kaossilator. At the intermission, he asked for someone to play Xevious on his DS, and I volunteered! I haven’t touched Xevious in years, so it took a bit of trial and error to remember the controls, but I managed to stay alive just long enough for him to finish setting up. He turned back and said, “You died at a good time!”, lol. After that, he got the people at the other table in the front row to play with the Kaossilator.

The ‘last’ two songs were Kyotei Zinc and Brain Storm, and it was usually then when he would say “Mata raisei de aimashou (また来世で会いましょう)” which is a pun on next live and next life, but since he was given a longer slot than usual, he launched into the second part of his performance. This time, I played Pac-Man for the intermission. I used to play Pac-Man a lot so I didn’t die as easily this time, so I played till he was ready. The last song was Music Video Orchestra!

I had a really good time, and thought of leaving, but since I was already there I stayed to see the remaining two acts. The act after Omodaka was Meteor, a rock/enka band with a shamisen and a flute along with the guitars and drums. It wasn’t exactly the sort of music I liked, but it was interesting hearing their version of Kokiriko Bushi and they also had weird songs which involved shouting “BENTORA BENTORA SPACE PEOPLE” during the chorus (Bentora Bushi), which was fun. I tried looking for their music online but there were only two videos of their performances on youtube. Most of their songs are about space and futuristic themes, sung enka style. The main vocalist (who also played the Shamisen) had a very strong voice well suited to enka, and the other vocalist (who played the flute) was wearing a kimono, which gave a nice contrast to the band’s JAXA and NASA emblazoned uniforms. They also had glowing LED armbands.

They’re apparently based in Kyoto, so they don’t do many performances in Tokyo.

The last act was Yokogawa Tadahiko, from whom I had no idea what to expect at all. His performance involved looping live samples of his violin, which he layered over and over, finally adding his voice. It was interesting to hear how his music developed in real time, but at a point, the violin got too high pitched for me so I had to resort to earplugs.

After the live, there were CDs on sale, so I decided to buy something before leaving. To my surprise, Omodaka was the one at the booth! It was my first time seeing him without his mask and miko getup so I couldn’t tell it was him at first, but then I recognized his voice. I got to talk to him for a bit and shook his hand \o/!

I bought the album Sanosa and the Plum song single (it came with a sticker!) before leaving for dinner. It was a good live!

The wind was really cold that night, so I bought food from the convenience store and ate dinner in the hotel.

There was also this Dragon Quest Slime gum at the convenience store. The wrappers are printed with the slime face so you can make slimes after you finish chewing.

Day 2 (9.28)

Day 2 started with getting lost in the Ikebukuro station. It’s one of the larger train stations in Tokyo, and very crowded. After walking around for 15 minutes I finally located the Sunshine City exit, and proceeded to the World Import Mart exhibition halls.

The first event I visited was the Fate/Zero Fourth Holy Grail War exhibition. I was half expecting a long line to get in, but surprisingly there wasn’t any waiting time at all. I bought the ticket with the special booklet and went in. The first thing I heard was Namikawa Daisuke (Waver’s) voice, as he explained the set-up of the exhibition to the visitors.

The Fate/Zero Exhibition is an experience-based event, and features many audio and video displays, replicas of items featured in Fate/Zero, real life recreations of spaces within the anime, and 1/1 scale models of Saber, the Motored Cuirassier, Gilgamesh and his Gate Of Babylon.

Upon entry, visitors are presented with a random magnetic card, which has a printed illustration of either a master or servant on it. I got Berserker, and the girl in front of me got Ryuunosuke. By tapping the card at three points in the exhibition, you can get a sticker at the end of the exhibition. The character you get depends on which points you choose.

Waver’s backpack, complete with sleeping bag.

Gate of Babylon!

You can pretend to yuetsu on the sofa.

Aside from displays, the exhibition is set up that you have to visit it twice to see everything. At two points in the gallery, you have to make a choice to proceed to either route, and your choice will change which displays you will see. At the end of the gallery, there are autograph boards by all the members of the F/Z staff, the cast, and Urobuchi Gen himself, but photos are not allowed in this area. However, the autographs are all included in the special booklet, along with interviews.

The tickets for Saturday were already sold out because of a special talk event by Nakata Jouji (VA of Kotomine) and Koyama Rikiya (VA of Kiritsugu), and only a few lucky visitors would be able to watch it in the stage area. I had already pre-ordered two tickets for that day prior to my trip. There will be more pictures of the exhibition on my Day 3 report.

They’ve also recorded this talk event for screening purposes, so I hope the footage will make it on an official release one day.

After walking through the exhibition, I headed for the Tokeidou Gakusei Shokudou (The cafeteria of the school Waver goes to) and stood in line for about 10 minutes to buy a pancake and a drink. Because of time constraints, each person could only order one pancake per round, out of four flavours/designs. I ordered a Kiritsugu pancake (matcha azuki flavour), and a Gilgamesh’s Ginpika Ginger Ale, which came with a coaster.

Surprisingly, putting Pretz in soda makes it taste good.

The food wasn’t cheap-

The hall next to the cafeteria was for the sales of F/Z and event limited goods. I got myself a basket and walked around for a really long time deciding what to get.

Lots of Mapo Tofu.

I left the event with almost 15k yen in damages…

-Lancer chocolate (for a friend)
-Kotomine and Gilgamesh wall tapestry from the ufotable shop
-Gilgamesh t-shirt (for a friend)
-Quote keychains (Kiritsugu and Kotomine)
-Kotomine’s mapo tofu
-Magnetic card set: all 7 Masters (The set apparently sold out later in the day according to twitter, so I regretted not buying the servant set too)

-Tall glass tumblers: Berserker, Kiritsugu, Kotomine, Gilgamesh

I left the event around 1pm, and headed back to the hotel to put down my stuff so I didn’t have to lug my loot around. After resting for a bit, I headed out again, and this time, to Enoshima!

Enoshima has been getting a lot of attention recently, as it is the location from which both Tsuritama and Tari Tari were based on. I decided to go because there was a Tsuritama stamp rally going on, which would end in just a few days time, and because I wanted to eat the shirasu (whitebait) and Enoshima-don.

The trip took about an hour and a half from Ikebukuro. I went via the Fujisawa station on the Enoden line, which was one of the checkpoints on the Tsuritama stamp rally.

It didn’t take long for the train to arrive. You’ll probably recognize the Enoden as the train from the Tsuritama opening.

To take part in the stamp rally, I had to purchase a day pass for the Enoden.

After a few stops, I arrived at Enoshima! The station had a nice, quaint feel to it.

To cross to the opposite platform, you had to cross the tracks.

I obtained the stamp rally sheet from the ticket office and got my first stamp.

Natsuki!

There were also Gachapon machines outside the station, with various souvenir-type accessories.

I got myself an Enoshima station sign strap.

Outside the station.

Even before reaching the island, you can already see the people’s obsession with shirasu. Shirasu pizza!

This underpass was also featured in Tsuritama.

And I think this was in Tari Tari.

In order to reach the island of Enoshima, I had to cross the Enoshima Benten Bridge. It was a pleasant walk because it was sunny but cool. You can already see the Sea Candle in the distance.

Some information on the map panel.

There were surfers!

The bridge was about half a kilometer long. After a long walk, I reached Enoshima!

The island’s terrain is set like a mountain, which made it an uphill climb towards the shrine. After a few minutes of walking and looking at the rows of food and souvenir shops, I spotted the first traces of Tsuritama invasion-

There were other visitors to the island quite obviously there because of Tsuritama. This group was trying to straighten the Yuki banner because it was hard to take a picture with the wind.

Tsuritama souvenirs.

I decided to try to reach the peak of the island, so I continued upwards to the shrine.

There is also a paid escalator ride up for lazy tourists who need to conserve energy. I needed to conserve money, so I walked.

There was an omikuji box outside the shrine, so I put in a 100yen coin and drew a fortune.

Daikichi! I’ve never got a daikichi (the best fortune) before lolol.

I like how the red lacquered bridges stand out against the greenery. Enoshima’s got the most trees and plants I’ve seen in a place set so close to Tokyo.

I got tired and decided to take the escalator. It was 180 yen so it wasn’t too bad.

View from the top!

This cafe has got a good view. I didn’t stop for coffee though.

I finally reached the Sea Candle, and bought a ticket from the machine.

This might have been the inspiration for Keiko’s garden? I’m not too sure. There were a lot of dragonflies so I had to duck awkwardly because they seemed to be constantly flying in my direction.

The Sea Candle!

The viewing platform which was featured in the final arc of the anime is accessible from the elevator.

You can see the bridge leading towards Enoshima.

Helpful guides to tell you what you’re looking at.

I spent about ten minutes looking around and taking pictures, and went back down again.

There were many cats around the island, and they generally don’t mind people. I took this picture on my way down.

Reversed Yuki. There wasn’t anyone  to hold it down for me so I could take a picture, lol.

I went to one of the shops and bought a lot of Tsuritama stuff for souvenirs, and got to chat with the old lady at the cashier for a bit. After that, I went to the shop next door and ordered myself a late lunch.

Enoshima don!

It was basically oyako-don with shellfish, and very delicious!

I spent the next hour or so finishing the stamp rally at three other train stations. The sun was almost down by the time I finished.

You can see the silhouette of the island from the Enoden. It’s a very scenic ride.

The Odakyu Katase-Enoshima station, accessible from the other bridge.

After redeeming the prize for completing the stamp rally at Fujisawa, I took another long train ride down to Nakano, and then got on a bus to the ufotable Cafe. It was the last weekend for their long-running Fate/Zero menu, so I wanted to visit the cafe again before it was over.

I had pretty bad memories of queuing in the winter cold waiting to get into the cafe last year, but this time there wasn’t a queue at all. I went in and got a counter seat.

Menu-

Coaster designs and special tumblers you can purchase for 1000 yen with your drink order.

My first order: Rin’s cranberry apple drink! It was for the coaster.

The Emiya family dinner.

Undoubtedly cooked by Shirou, so you can feel like Kiritsugu eating it.

It was delicious!

My second drink order. Sakura’s Sakura soda! Rin’s cranberry apple tasted better, but it was for the coaster…

After finishing dinner, I left my seat to have a look around the cafe.

The Tokushima Awa-odori special poster. The Kotomine/Kiritsugu dynamic is ever present!

The rest of the displays had a No Photography mark on them, so I didn’t take any. The current storyboard displays were for the last two episodes, so it was mostly Kiritsugu and Kotomine’s epic fight scene and the infamous naked Gil (which was a pan, so it was drawn on a larger sheet than the other key frames)

Cafe loot! It came with a large paper bag.

-Sakura and Rin coasters
-Badge kuji (Shirou and Sakura, both variations)
-Kotomine and Kiritsugu mugs.

-Photo kuji (I got five each from the master/servant series)

And Enoshima loot-


-Tsuritama cookies, chocolate, and shirasu curry

-Mini uchiwa (Prize from the stamp rally)

I also stamped my notebook for fun.

After tidying up, I went for a two-hour solo karaoke session since there was a karaoke place right behind the hotel. Nothing much of note except that Joysound’s system has a voice effect panel, so you can change the pitch and tone of your voice, or even autotune it (It’s called the Technovoice effect). Pretty cool!

Joysound has an extensive list of Vocaloid songs. I also tried singing the Hyouka openings and endings.

The next report will cover days 3 and 4 of my trip, and will feature the Fate/Zero exhibition on one of it’s busiest days, Vocaloid club event V_C the second act, and DIY Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki! I’ll try to have it done by next week.

8 thoughts on “Japan trip notes – Part 1 (9.27~9.28)

  1. meodien1812 says:

    I was squeeling as my mouse scrolled down xD Pictures, pictures, everything is in great details, I have the feeling like I’m in Japan as the time I read your post xD. Thank you very much, It’s really interesting ♥
    I’ll re-read it again after finishing my work here ~

    • shokupan says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! Some of it was written when I was in Japan so there are more details, but I’ll have to rely on my memory for the rest of the days ^^; I’ll do my best to get the next post up soon!

  2. Hikari Girl says:

    *.* Beautiful *.* I had never read something so explained about Japan! Though it’d be really a problem for me since I don’t know anything about the language, and I’m pretty bad dealing with technology… probably I’d have died in the first day XD.

    Anyway, thank you for the time you spend sharing such a detailed report!
    Hoping part 2!

    • shokupan says:

      You’re welcome! If you decide to go to Japan, I’m sure you’ll manage somehow! Most of the signs have English text, and now there are train announcements in English too ^^

  3. manfa says:

    good to see you blog again :) and so jealous you are in japan! was this a planned trip or? seeing your photos really makes me want to go japan on a off season and travel by myself :) keep up the posts!

  4. Misaki says:

    By the way, how did you get to your hotel from the airport? Train? Well I don’t know whether you’re alone but if you have a check in luggage and a hand luggage how do you lug it all the way there? O_O Sorry I’m a travel noob :P Last time I was there I had my mum with me so we each took one. But it was so embarrassing as we were the only people pulling bigass luggages around T_T

    • shokupan says:

      I had a backpack and a luggage and I managed just fine! If I remember correctly, I took a train (The Keisei Skyliner) to Nippori and then took the Yamanote to Ikebukuro. The Narita Express goes directly to Ikebukuro too.

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