Saturday 6 June 2015

Japanese New Trip 2014 - Day 6 (Akihabara, Asakusa and Yamashita San)

As I woke on the first day of 2015, I felt as if the Kami were already cursing me. It was clear at this stage that I had a hangover (is there a Kami of hangovers?). With hindsight, Ryan and I picking up a bottle of sake on the way back to Kyle's apartment (for further new year celebrations), was not a good idea. The fact that Ryan ended up showing less interest in the sake once opened and leaving me to consume it did not bode well.
Kyle needed to do some work that morning so Ryan and I needed to keep ourselves occupied for the morning and early afternoon. Fortunately, I was not at the point of summoning the spirits of darkness so Ryan left the apartment in search of new and interesting places.
Our first stop was... Akihabara. Okay, that wasn't very imaginative but this was our last full day so it was our last chance to see electric town for a while.

Looks like Cross Ange is available on DVD and Blu-Ray
While we were there, we decided to check out a few of the new stores. Strangely, one of them was called "Fewture Shop Akiba". I took this to be a typo but when we entered the shop we found that this was indeed the name. It would be easy to laugh but in the west we do the same thing - look at Super Dry!
Fewture - it's like the future, but betterer!
While investigating Fewture Shop and a few of the other shops in that building, we decided to procure fukobukuro - lucky bags. One way of clearing old stock at the end of the year is to package various items in a paper bag. It's luck of the draw, you pay a fixed amount and see what you get. Sometimes they can have some very expensive items in. Consequently, big stores often have large queues of people waiting to buy their fukobukuro. The bags we bought were for Yokai Watch - so Kyle is really going to hate us for that! (Yokai Watch has taken the place of One Piece so now that's the show/game he's sick of hearing about)
Another noteworthy point was that the Tokyo Animation Centre appeared to be running some kind of Macross Frontier promotion. This caught me a little off guard as it's an older series, released in 2007. This made me quite nostalgic as the 1980's series Super Dimension Fortress Macross was the first anime I really got in to (although I didn't watch it until about 2009)
Ranka Lee on the left, Sheryl Nome on the right... I'm not sure who's in the middle
While we were in that area we could see one of the other new year traditions - sales! Various street vendors were carrying out clearances of their old stock.

Also, I noticed that there was a "Mister Donut", that chain features quite heavily in Bakemonogatari (and the rest of the Monogatari series)

After a little geeking out in Akihabara, we moved on to Asakusa. Ryan was keen to see the Asakusa district, having been there a few times before, it seemed logical that I show him around in the afternoon. The plan for the evening was to meet at Kyle's and spend the evening with the amazing Yamashita San.
Although I'd already been to Asakusa a few times, it's a place I like to come back to so I was happy to show Ryan around.

By this point, my stomach had recovered from its battle with sake and I was in serious need of food. I've often said that the best places to eat are a little off the beaten track. The little places that are not immediately obvious and don't look too touristy will often have good food and are reasonably priced. Following this guidance, we found a little place squirrelled away just off of one of the main streets.
Lunch was a nice tempura and udon set with rice. It hit the spot.
With fuel for the day sorted, we set about touring the area. Unfortunately I don't have many pictures of Asakusa for this post. If you're not familiar with the area, please look to some of my earlier Asakusa specific posts for more details. One thing I did notice was that there was a... cat themed shop. I'm not quite sure whether this is cute or creepy.
Previously, I said that I was the logical choice to show Ryan around Asakusa as I'd been there a few times.There was one slight flaw in that plan - I have virtually no sense of direction. So I'm sure you've guessed that we (okay, I) got lost on the way back to the train station. Being a chapskate, I resisted turning on data on my phone (that's expensive! It's probably going to cost me 1500 Yen!). After a little wandering, I noticed a large building near to the train station so we just used that as a landmark. Problem solved!
So we made it back to Kyle's with a little time to spare (okay, not much) before Yamashita San was due to arrive. As Yamashita San was also bringing over a printer I could use to print out my boarding pass (as I'm pretty old fashioned, Ryan opted for electronic boarding passes on his phone) we made sure to bring plenty of Yebisu (premium malt beer) for him.
After an evening of drinking and discussions with Yamnashita, our last full day drew to a close.

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