Missing Tokyo

Posted: May 31, 2015 in Japan
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It is hard to imagine that it has been two years since I first set eyes on what I truly believe is the home of my soul. There are moments that it feels like it was just yesterday, I was standing in the middle of Akiba being completely awestruck, and yet at the same time, I am starting to forget. I can’t quite remember the smells, or the feeling of being surrounded by so many people, and at the same time feeling more free than I ever have before. I am starting to forget that sensation when I realized how truly silent the city of Tokyo actually is, which sounds crazy, but yet is so true. The moment amidst the chaos when you realize… wait this isn’t chaos at all, just a different kind of order. But what I will never forget and what is with me every day is how much I miss Tokyo!

My journey in Tokyo lasted almost three weeks, which may sound like a long time but in all reality is not! I barely scratched the surface of that amazing megacity, and I spend every day hoping that I can return soon. I should have been able to travel back to Japan to enjoy the Sakura this year in Tokyo as well as Kyoto but sadly, I had to postpone. The fact that I had to put off my trip was truly heartbreaking and at the same time makes my desire to return even more intense. I know I will return to the Land of the Rising Sun, my spiritual home, I just don’t know when.

Come along with me as I go back in time and revisit my favorite moments of that trip. Some of these images may be familiar if you have followed my Tokyo Diaries series, and some I have yet to publish. The Tokyo Diaries series is still a work in progress but is a project I have not forgotten and will most definitely complete.

Journey with me now… as I revisit some of my favorite moments…

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This was so impressive to see, and fortunately I stayed so near to this amazing life-size Gundam I got to see hime every day!

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So much fun and I even won an Evee of my very own!

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 Was so not going to miss a stop at a Pokemon Center. I had complete intentions of going again before I left, but somehow never made it back.

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Must have for any Gundam fan. Made several stops at both Gundam Cafe’s, the one pictured above is in Akihabara.

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So serene and beautiful!

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An oasis amidst the skyscrapers!

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For a brief moment, I thought I had been transported back in time.

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Nihonbashi Bridge

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All you heard was a quiet rustle as they passed you by. All that was left was the faintest fragrance of flowers when they were gone.

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Two amazing achievements!

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The most delicious food!

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I had waited a long time just to come and visit him!

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Only by being there can you truly understand.

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I became obsessed with these delicious little treats!

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These images barely begin to scratch the surface of my journey in Tokyo, and reflect but just a few moments that I will never forget.

I can only hope that I will be able to return soon and embark on experiencing all that this beautiful country has to offer. I will not rest until I have explored it all, and am counting the days until I can return! Stay tuned for more as I continue with Tokyo Diaries.

It has been a long time since I have completed an episode of Tokyo Diaries, and for those that were previously following along, I apologize. For those of you that are coming across this series for the first time, if you like what you see take a look at some of the previous episodes. I have struggled as of late to be able to find time to continue chronicling my adventures in Tokyo, but I feel that I should finally make that happen.

It has been over a year since my feet were on Japanese soil and there is not a day that goes by that I do not miss it horribly! We have recently had to cancel our upcoming trip for Sakura season and that has left me quite sad so I hope that continuing to revisit my last journey will help me in my sadness.

In our previous episode we had a chance to visit Senso-ji and take a trip back in time. This episode we will be going on a whirlwind tour of Tokyo Midtown, Roppongi Hills, Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Skytree! I cannot even begin to tell you how exhausted we were at the end of this day!

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I love the fact that when you arrive at certain station throughout Tokyo, you are greeted with amazing art. This was what greeted us that day as we arrived at Shiodome station.

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Tokyo Midtown entrance upon arrival at the station.

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As you ride the escalator up to the first floor of Tokyo Midtown, you come across this amazing water fountain. It is quite impressive and literally takes up the entire wall.

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There is quite a bit of fantastic sculptures and architecture all over. This sculpture was in the center of a very large circular skylight, and you can see from the small child that it is a fairly large piece.

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I found the Konami store!

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This is what you see as you gaze up into the large water feature that resides in the middle of Tokyo Midtown outside.

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This is the same water feature as you see it from outside. You can see the Konami Card Game Station peeking out at you from the other side.

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I was awestruck at the beauty of this place. I think one of the things that amazes me about Tokyo is how much lush scenery you can find and how well they are able to combine steel, glass, and trees together without taking anything away from each one individually.

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Next stop, Roppongi Hills!

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Underground Passage… I’m there!

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Mori Tower

Sadly since we packed so much into this day we were not able to take the time to go inside, however we did explore the surrounding area.

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Louise Bourgeois’ giant spider named Maman.

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Water fountain that follows alongside Maman.

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Entrance to Mori Tower.

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In Tokyo it is disrespectful and basically not allowed to smoke in a random space. So they have strategically placed a bunch of “smoking areas” throughout the city and some are even in governmental buildings. I found myself being pretty obsessed with taking pictures of them all, and I dont even smoke! This was one of the ones with the best view of Tokyo Tower.

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View from the “smoking area”.

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There is a peaceful garden below the Mori Tower with a pond and lush green walkways, perfect for a picnic!

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Tokyo Tower was our next stop on this insanely busy day. Built in the 1950’s to resemble  the Eiffel Tower, although a little taller, this seems to be one of the most easily recognizable landmarks in Tokyo. Inside there are countless little stalls full of souvenirs and goodies that you cant help but want to take home. I did resist although in retrospect that was silly. The wait for the viewing platform was pretty long so we decided to go ahead and head out to our last stop of the day, Tokyo Skytree.

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As you disembark from the rail at Tokyo Skytree station you find yourself walking into a tall maze of escalators that will take you up into what I lovingly call the Tokyo Skytree compound.

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This is the site that greeted me as I rounded the corner after having arisen from the escalators.

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Completed in 2011, Tokyo Skytree stands 634 meters (2,080 ft.) tall and is surrounded by numerous shops and restaurants.

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Breathtakingly beautiful and awe-inspiring!

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I found another “smoking area”!

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Inside the shopping area I found a cute little Hello Kitty store.

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This is one of my favorite representations of Hello Kitty. There is something very classic and yet kawaii about Hello Kitty in a kimono.

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Fantastic sculture right outside the official Tokyo Skytree store.

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There is so much to look at and explore all around that by the time we decided to go get tickets for the observation deck there were none left for the day! We figured we would be able to come back before we left but sadly time escaped us and we never made it back so this is on the “To Do List” for our next trip.

This was such a fun-filled yet exhausting day, it is amazing that you could stay in Tokyo for a couple of weeks and still leave things undone!

Stay tuned until the next Tokyo Diaries!

Posted: October 4, 2014 in Pocket Quotes
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“Not all who wander are lost” J.R.R. Tolkien

What does it mean to be a “girl gamer”?

This isn’t really a question that I ask myself, I don’t really ever even think about that question. Until I see the look on people’s faces when they find out I play games. For me, and I would assume for most of us “girl gamers” we don’t think about it, because this is just the way that we are.
I am female, an adult, and I like, no dare I say, LOVE video games! I am just like the men/boy gamers of the world. So why are we seen so differently? For some reason females in gaming are seen as this elusive species, a legend, an urban myth, a unicorn. So let me let you in on a little secret, we exist! We are out there, you walk by us every day, you talk to us, you interact with us, in some cases we might even be your boss, and just in case you hadn’t noticed there are females in the gaming industry working hard to create these games we have all dedicated countless hours to, and guess what… They are doing it right alongside the men!

So why am I asking this question now?
I don’t think most people realize what women take on when they find themselves drawn to what, from an outsider (and even some insiders) feel is a boys club. Most of the time we are dismissed, and it is automatically assumed that we can’t play or that all we play are Hello Kitty and Disney games (absolutely nothing wrong with that) but there is so much more to us. We don’t all get into gaming because our brothers or boyfriends taught us too. Most of us found ourselves attracted by the amazing worlds that opened up literally at our fingertips, most of us taught ourselves how to play with countless hours of sometimes frustrating gameplay, and for most of us years later, we still love it!
So let me share with you the story of one such “girl gamer”.

I was young and completely unaware of the video game world. I had seen my uncle play with an Atari, but I was never allowed to play, because of course… I was a girl. One day I happened to find myself staring wide eyed at a Sega Genesis, I still remember what it felt like. I was just walking by, minding my own business at the local toy store, and all of the sudden behind this glass cabinet was this amazing shiny black box that literally screamed out my name. It was indescribable, I had to have it! It looked beautiful, and the worlds it promised, I literally stood there enthralled. I pressed my little face up to the glass hoping that somehow magically through osmosis I could just touch it. Fortunately the gods were smiling down on me, and my mom decided I had been a good enough little girl to warrant such a gift. You see I am the oldest of four, the only girl and she was about to have my first of three younger brothers so really, I think she was just trying to butter me up for permanent baby sitter availability.
This one moment is what started it all, from that moment on I was hooked. I spent hours completely immersed in so many games that to this day I still absolutely love, and fortunately some of them have even been remade, Castle of Illusion being one of those games I loved and after having a chance to play it again recently it is still amazing. I have to say my only regret of those early gaming days is never having beat Ecco the Dolphin (those were definitely my first nerd rage moments). As I continued to grow and my desire for games increased I discovered Nintendo, and let’s just say they stole my heart.
Throughout the years there have been so many games that I have enjoyed and I literally own every gaming console and handheld, in some case multiples that have come out since the Genesis (except a Neo Geo Pocket that was stolen and never replaced) but for some reason there is no other that speaks to my heart the way Nintendo does. There is a small exception to that, Gears of War, I don’t know what it is about that series that touched me but I actually cried more than once as I played through the trilogy (I say that because I didn’t play the last one, a slight boycott since Cliff Blezinski had nothing to
do with it).

So many years and so many games but one thing remains the same I am a gamer!
I wait with baited breath for word on the latest releases from my favorite developers. I subscribe to numerous gaming magazines. I follow news online about the goings on of the gaming world. I have even been known to cosplay now and again.
It’s no secret to those that know me that if you just but peaked inside my bag you would surely find my 3DS XL and that my little friend and I have only been parted twice, once for surgery, and once because it was stolen, the latter a very sad experience as not only did I not have my little friend but OH MY GOD, my save data!
It is also no secret that I rather spend quality time at home playing my latest game on a day off than wasting it at the mall or some other place that us girls are supposed to go. I strategically organize my schedule to ensure that I have release day and a couple of days off after launch to make the most of my gaming time (can’t wait for Destiny launch and 3 days off). My most recent acquisition was Diablo iii Ultimate (not enough games like this). I find myself wanting to jump out of my comfort zone and try games that I might not be as great at but am drawn by the world. I will even share another little secret with you… I am a damn good sniper!

So you see,we are not all that different from all the other gamers you know. So I ask you, in the end aren’t we all just gamers that love, hate, and dive in to these vast universe time and time again to experience and enjoy the possibilities at our fingertips?

*This was originally posted on shegotgamedoc.ca so I thought I would make it available on my own blog as well. Click on the link and check out all the great work that Cailleah Scott-Grimes is doing to highlight women in gaming!

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On Tuesday, September 9th 2014, Destiny launches!
Now for those of you that are unaware I am a pretty dedicated Nintendo Fan Girl! So there are very few things that can draw my attention away but Bungie has done it again. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this particular title, I know that Bungie has decided they want this to be a decade long adventure and I am willing to give them the time. I am looking forward to immersing myself in what will hopefully be a pretty epic adventure full of lots of story, dialogue, and snippering!

This is the plan for me and my PS4…
– Launch day plus two additional days off in a row for maximum binge playing, check!
– House cleaned, check!
– Advised all not to bother me for 3 days, check!
– Grocery shopping for gaming munchies, not check…
Have only one thing left to check off my list and hopefully I will be ready!

As of 9am tomorrow morning I will be standing in front of my local game shop not patiently awaiting my copy of the Limited Edition.
Two complaints so far…
– My local game shop sucks and they are not opening at midnight!
– Not enough Ghost editions!!!!!!!!

Good luck to all that will be embarking on a journey to be a Gaurdian, and save the world!

I am on a mission! Im not sure why exactly, but I am on a serious mission.
Sadly this thought never occurred to me last year when I was standing amongst all the cuteness inside The Pokemon Center.
I think I was overwhelmed, I think if its possible I literally had “geeky goodness” overload. Sounds absolutely crazy I know, but now over a year later, when I am horribly missing my time spent in the “Land of the Rising Sun” its true!
By now your probably wondering, what is this mission?…
I am on a mission to collect EVERY Eevolution that I can get my hands on, in plushie and keychain form!
Sadly so far I have acquired just a few and my “collection”, (if you can really call it that) looks quite sad. But I guess all collections have to start somewhere.
Here are a few shots of what I am hoping is just the beginning of my “Complete Evee Collection”!

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Collection so far.

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I had her keychain too but it was stolen…

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Sad I know, but like I said… I am on a mission!

Earlier this summer I had the opportunity to attend Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and I must say I was not disappointed. I have attended several of these weekends and I have to say this might have been one of my favorites! There has been alot of skeptics out there ever since the announcement that Disney had acquired “Star Wars”, and I am still a little bit concerned about how they will handle a franchise that has shaped so many of our childhoods and adult lives. However, in this they did not disappoint!

They offered so much this year in the way of expanding the event that I left excited for what else was to come of “The Star Wars” universe under the Disney brand.

I did my best to capture as many of the special goodness as I could, but I must say there were a few times I was too busy enjoying those moments. From the amazing amount of official characters roaming about for picture ops, to the fans that were out cosplaying, to the ever fantastic “Darth’s Mall”, and new this year the “Star Wars” symphony led fireworks, I had a blast!

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This was one of the first “character” sitings we had. The line to get a one on one pic was crazy long!

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Absolutely had to take a picture with this Clone Trooper and my amazing little R2-D2 dress.

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Official Bounty Hunter with a great fan cosplay.

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Sadly I was unable to take a picture with Boba Fett because right as I arrived and saw the line was almost non-existent he left for break…

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Now on to “Darth’s Mall”, mecha of shopping for all things “Star Wars”

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There were so may cool things that were displayed above the venue. As long as you weren’t overwhelmed by all the goodies and remembered to look up.

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“I am watching you”…

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This got me squealing like a little girl! of course I absolutely had to buy an amazing Boba Fett tank-top, literally could not leave there without it!

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Great place to stop and get some refreshments.

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Some of my favorite artwork they had.

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Extra goodness on the way out too.

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The line here was the longest of all, it literally wrapped all the way around and outside of the dedicated Star Wars area.

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No matter how many times I go, I always have to walk all through here and ride “Star Tours”.

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And no visit is complete without making a pitstop here!

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How can you not love that face!

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Much needed for my “Magic Band”.

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Had to have the “Stormtrooper Stein”.

The evening ended with an amazing show, and for the icing on the cake fireworks set to the beloved symphony of “Star Wars”.

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Spectacular finish to the day that pictures just don’t do it justice. Cant wait till next year!