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Bloodseeker tours to Tokyo! (photos included)


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As some of you already know, I just got back from a nine-day trip to Tokyo a few days ago! It was an excellent trip, definitely one worth talking about.

[b]Things of Note[/b]

Japan was different from where I live in many ways.

For starters, many people over there walk from place to place and take the subways and trains instead of driving. It doesn't really stand out in any of my photos, but trust me, there are more people walking and riding bikes than driving.

Second, when it was raining EVERYBODY was carying umbrellas. There wasn't a raincoat in sight. It makes sense though, seeing as how Tokyo was still pretty hot, despite the rain. Not to mention humid. (that was the one thing that I hated about Tokyo) Look at this guy's stylish pink umbrella:


Eastern-style toilets. Thankfully, they also have western bathrooms there too, so I never had to take a dump in one of these. Looks awkward:


THE VENDING MACHINES ARE EVERYWHERE! I swear, it seemed like every block had at least five of these things! Most of them just had drinks, though there were also quiet a few with ciggarettes:


Lack of trashcans. Trashcans were near impossible to find in some parts of town. With all of the vending machines around, you'd think that there would be more trashcans to throw your trash away in. My mom and I walked around for fifteen minutes looking for a trashcan before eventually shoving the soda cans into the hands of an employee at Starbucks and walking off. This sign drives the point home perfectly:


Noisy bugs! Those locuses and cicadas (I think that they were cicadas) would be extremely annoying to have outside your window if you were trying to sleep.

How to say "thank you for coming" in Japanese: "Die, dumbass." I couldn't help but laugh when I first heard that one.

For those of you that don't know (all three of you), in Japan, you drive on the left side of the road. The steering wheel is on the right side of the car too. I noticed that lots of the bigger cars there had TVs in them.

I'd say that about one in every seven or eight people that we ran into spoke enough English to help us out when we needed it. Not terribly surprising, given the English-friendly environment of Tokyo.

As for currency... there's about a hundred yen to a dollar. I remember someone saying that the exact amount is $1.07 = 100 yen, but I never bothered to confirm it. Coins come in the variety of one yen, ten yen, fifty yen, one hundred yen, and five hundred yen. I might take a picture of the coins when my mom gets back... she went to visit grandma and she brought the camera with her.

The food there is alright, though I wouldn't trade it for good ol' American food. I never want to see another cold half cooked egg again. I could go the rest of my life without fish eggs too. Sushi actually isn't as bad as you might think it is. Its not something that I'd eat on the regular basis, but its not bad. There's also a lot of "western" restaurants in Tokyo too, but they're not as good as American counterparts. I remember trying to order extra crispy chicken legs at KFC.

Me: "Two extra crispy chicken legs."
Him: "So you want two chicken legs and two extra crispy?" *points at crispy chicken strips*
Me: "No, I want two extra crispy chicken drumbsticks."
Him: "So you want two extra crispy and one drumbstick?"
Him: "You want two chicken legs and two extra crispy?"
Me: "....I'll have two regular drumbsticks, please."

They picked some wierd areas for some of the subway entrances. One time we came out in a cosmetics shop, another time, we came in a place with a Starbucks and several small shops, and yet another time, we came out in a bakery:



There are two main religions in Japan: Buddhism and Shinto. Naturally, there are a fair number of shrines for both. The easiest way to tell them apart is the Shinto shrine always has one of these gates:


Also, most buddhists shrines have swastikas all over the place.


That's right, Jews. Buddha hates you. Naw, just joking. Its too bad the Nazis had to take a sign of peace and give it such a bad name.

Japanese fassion... I noticed that a lot of the girls wore jeans under their skirts.That's just cold, teasing us guys like that! A large amount of the men walking around wore identical black business suits with a white undershirt and black tie. How boring. I'd wear a white suit just so that I wasn't identical to everyone else. Aside from that, the fassions didn't seem too far off from what you'd see here in America.

I'm probably forgetting something... Oh well, let's get to the actual tour! I had too many images to post, so I turned them into links.

[b]Day 1[/b]

This was pretty much just a traveling day. My mom insisted that we get to the airport early "just to be safe". We spent about fifteen minutes checking in our bags and going through security and about three hours waiting for boarding time. Thanks a lot, mom. I spent about two hours of the ten hour flight sleeping, two hours watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith (7/10), and the rest of it either trying to sleep or playing my new DS (Mario 64 DS and Advance Wars: Dual Strike). I wasn't watching the clock, but I'd say that it took about half an hour to get from Narita Airport to central Tokyo. We were staying at a 4-star military hotel. I wouldn't give it four stars, but I'd say that it was a solid three. (the rooms were nice, but the food wasn't anything special, and they didn't have a lot of the modern hotel features like the ability to order movies from your room)

[b]Day 2[/b]

We visited Ueno Park and Roppongi. The subway system is pretty easy to get used to, especially if you ask the information desk for a map. Just look for your destination, how much it costs (190 yen is usually a safe bet), put the money in, grab the ticket, and go downstairs.

Ueno Park is the spot with all of the museums. They've also got a fairly nice shopping place too. My mom picked up a (fake) pearn necklace there. Lots of arcades. They need more shopping areas like that in America. We entered one of the museums (I don't remember what it was called). It bored me to tears for the most part. They had some interesting statues and blades, but aside from that, meh. They also have a pretty big Shinto shrine there too. (At least, I think that was in Ueno Park...) I didn't visit it during my first full day in Tokyo though. I took the picture of the umbrellas right after leaving the museum. It seems like it would be an ideal place for a picnic on a sunnier day. Here are the pictures that I took while in Ueno Park:







(She looked a lot cuter when I was standing right in front of her...)

We actually only saw a bit of Roppngi, but it seemed like a nice commercial area. Not too much to say about it other than that was a nice mall that we went to. This was my mom's favorite section of the city. Some pictures:



(that's Tokyo Tower, if you didn't know)

[b]Day 3[/b]

We took a guided tour around parts of Tokyo.

First, we hit a Shinto shrine. I actually wanted to zoom in on the door on the far side of the main shrine, but a security guard stopped me. He didn't know why when I asked. Dumbass. The shrine was in a nice foresty area. The rest... just look at the pictures:

(These are sake bottles donated for rituals... how much you wanna bet that the monks party after the shrine shuts down for the night?)


Next, we went to the Imperial Garden. The castle grounds themselves are forbidden to the general public on all but two night a year, New Years Eve and the emperor's birthday. The guards were practicing their martials arts inthe one of the restricted areas that we were walking past. It was pretty funny. It sounded like someone was being tortured! "WAAAAAAAHHHHH! AAAAAAAHHH! OOOH! OOOHHH! OOOOOOOOH! AAAAAAAAAAAH!" The gardens themselves were nice, even if there were a lot of noisy bugs there. See for yourselves:




Next, we went to Asakusa, which is a big buddhist shrine with a shopping strip. We wanted to take a longer look at this place, so we parted ways with the tour here. There was a politition promoting his election campaign. I guess that the elections took place while we were in Japan. My mom picked up some souvenirs for her friends.








After Asakusa, we headed towards Ginza, which was supposedly the best shopping area in Tokyo. What a let down. All it was were high end cosmetic, jewelry, and clothing shops. We got bored pretty quick.

So, went to visit Akihabara (for those of you that haven't heard of it, its an electronic, videogame, and anime shopping area), but we went in the wrong direction and ended up back in the Ueno Park shopping area. We went to the Tokyo Tower after about an hour in Ueno. Its just a bunch of souvenir shops, an elevator, and two observation rooms. We spent a little extra to go to the upper observation room:







[b]Day 4[/b]

My mom insisted that we just rest in the hotel room for a day, so nothing really happened here. We rented Hostage (another 7/10), and I spent the rest of the day playing my DS and reading the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Yawn.

[b]Day 5[/b]

We were going to head over to Akihabara at night to see the neon lights, but a thunderstorm his and we ended up staying inside. We rented The Aviator (8/10... better than I thought it would be), and once again, I ended up playing my DS and read HP6.

[b]Day 6[/b]

We took a tour to Mount Fuji (which looks surprisingly dull at this time of the year), hitting several small rest stops along the way:



(those clouds were really cool)

We also took a tram ride over a sulfer mine. Why they would put a tram for tourists over a sulfer mine if beyond me. It didn't smell good.



We also took a boat ride later, but I wasn't particularly intersted in staring at fog and trees, so I just chilled inside.

[b]Day 7[/b]

We went to Tokyo Disneyland! We spent the majority of the time standing in line. (80 minute-long lines... das not cool) They redecorated the haunted mansion to a "Nightmare Before Christmas" theme. It actually worked better, which is surprising, seeing as how I don't like Nightmare Before Christmas. The Halloween Parade was so bad that I started laughing. "Its a pump- pump -pumpkin party!" Give me a break! Not to mention a bunch of Japanese people doing the chicken before the parade. I wanted to get a picture of one of the monkey guys in a ridiculous position (one of them couldn't dance worth *****... he was over there flailing his arms and kicking his legs), but every time I took the picture, he was in a "normal" dancing position. Then there was the electric parade... my camera did NOT agree with it. It made the lights look really dull. (some of those female dancers had next to nothing covering their thighs... in America, protective moms everywhere would be getting pissed)



[b]Day 8[/b]

We made a return trip to Asakusa. I picked up a shuriken, and my mom bought some more gifts for her friends. You'll notice that the red lantern is actually down this time...



Once we were done in Akasuka, we finally made it to Akihabara. I was a bit too preoccupied with geeking out over all of the anime shops to care about taking pictures. We ended walking into a hentai shop... walking into a hentai shop with your mom, that's awkward. We kept going up stares expecting to see something different. Nope, just more anime girls sucking more anime cock. My mom had this "WTF?!" expression on her face the entire time. Like I said, awkward. I ended up grabbing an Evangelion Unit 01 model set. I'll have to get started on it soon.

[b]Day 9[/b]

Another traveling day. We got on the plane at 5 P.M., flew for nine hours, and arrived at SFO at 10:30 in the morning. My mom was extremely cranky the entire drive home. We both crashed when we got back.
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Day 8. That's pretty funny. I've had a just as awkward experience. Makes me wanna vomit thinking bout how awkward it was. Not. Cool.

As for the Buddhist "swastika," it's a shame that some ******** borrowed it. But I'm glad they used the reflection of that symbol, instead of the symbol itself.
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The camera sucks in the dark, even when I have flash on and have the settings set for a dark place. I took a few pictures of the insides of shrines, and they always turned out dark and blurry, as did the picture that I took of the Disneyland castle at night.


Why I haven't deleted that yet, I don't know.
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[COLOR=DarkSlateGray]Wow thats pretty intresting I always wanted to go to tokyo. However I havent been able to go there so far. Well these pictures of you trip makes it look like you had fun.

Too bad you didnt have any pictures of the shuriken though. I bet it looks pretty cool. ;) [/COLOR]
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[color=darkred]Good job that you had such a great time, but dude, what's with getting bored at the museum in Ueno Park?! If it were me, I'd bend over backwards just to see every tid-bit of historical monuments there lol. But seriously, from this end it sounds like a trip well worth it, which is cool. Maybe some day I'll visit Tokyo in all its glory, heh.

By the way, that Shinto Shrine looks simply amazing.[/color]
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The buddhist symbol you're referring to is called the [I]sauvastika[/I] which moves in a counterclockwise direction, and is called the [I]manji [/I] in japanese. It is widely regarded as a symbol of good fortune, and was widely used in the ancient world (for example, appearing on mesopotamian coins). It has been used as a symbol of buddhism in japan since ancient times. It is the clockwise version ( the [I]hakenkruz[/I] ) which was perverted by the nazis.

All of which was quoted from the start of the blade of the immortal books- who says anime and manga teach you nothing! Sounds like you had a lot of fun though, i would love to go and see those shrines myself one day.
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