Posts Tagged ‘Gundam’

Missing Tokyo

Posted: May 31, 2015 in Japan
Tags: , , , , ,

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 10.09.15 AM

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…

IMG_0166

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!

IMG_0199

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

IMG_0265

 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.

IMG_0280

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

IMG_0331

IMG_0350

 

So serene and beautiful!

IMG_0378

An oasis amidst the skyscrapers!

IMG_0506

IMG_0578

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

IMG_0872

Nihonbashi Bridge

IMG_0943

IMG_1129

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.

IMG_1234

IMG_1247

Two amazing achievements!

IMG_0888

IMG_1127

The most delicious food!

IMG_1292

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

IMG_1357

Only by being there can you truly understand.

IMG_1581

I became obsessed with these delicious little treats!

IMG_0815

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.

As we continue along on my journey through the “Land of the Rising Sun” today we finds ourselves revisiting Asakusa and one of the places that I found myself having the breath being taken right out of me. This is the core of the historic Shitamachi District and one of the places in Tokyo where you can truly capture moments of the old Edo that thrived so long ago. This area mainly centers around the beautiful Senso-ji Temple which was founded in the 7th Century, although many structures were rebuilt after the 1923 Earthquake and then again after ariel bombings in the end of WW2 it is still an impressive site to behold and one I will revisit again!

IMG_0895

Beautiful mural I found as we arrived at our destination station! (Ginza Line)

IMG_0903

Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate) gaurded by two Dieties, Fujin God of wind (right), and Raijin God of Thunder (left)

IMG_0910

One of the most recognizable sights at Senso-ji

IMG_0916

Beautifully carved underside of lantern

IMG_0919

Nakamise-dori, Pretty little stalls filled with all kinds of goodies from food treats to various types of souvenirs

IMG_0923

To ensure you are worthy there is a second gate Hozo-mon you must pass before you can reach the main temple

IMG_0924

IMG_0946

Back side of Hozo-mon gate these 4.5m tall sandles were made by about 800 villagers from the Yamagata Prefecture

IMG_0928

Five story pagoda, a 1973 reconstruction of a pagoda built by Tokugowa Iemitsu

IMG_0954

Hondo (Main Hall)

IMG_0955

Incense cauldron to bring good health

IMG_0943

One of my favorites pictures I took this day!

IMG_0958

I didnt want to offend anyone but I felt moved to participate…

IMG_0960

Gorgeously crafted cleansing fountain

IMG_0965

Wood Painting above fountain

IMG_0973

IMG_0969

IMG_0981

IMG_0987

IMG_0983

IMG_0978

View from top steps of the main hall

IMG_0995

Sight of Tokyo Skytree peeking in from above

IMG_0997

Some of my favorite shots taken on the surrounding grounds of the Temple

IMG_1002

IMG_1007

IMG_1009

IMG_1022

IMG_1031

IMG_1040

IMG_1036

IMG_1054

IMG_1055

IMG_1056

IMG_1072

IMG_1080

IMG_1083

IMG_1104

IMG_1119

“Bell of time”

IMG_1122

IMG_1129

Just a rustle is all I heard and for a brief moment in time I forgot to breathe!

IMG_1127

Deliscious bowl of ramen to refill our exhausted selves!

IMG_1133

Quick pit-stop on the way back to the hotel in Odaiba

IMG_1137

Must have all of it!

IMG_1142

Night view of Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Tower

IMG_1154

Just in time to catch our friend’s night time show, at the end of another amazing day in Tokyo. Even now almost a year later I am still awestruck and am truly counting the days until we return!

Everyone always sais that after such a long flight you will have a horrible case of jet lag, that was my biggest concern, that once we had arrived, the first few days would be ruined, that we would waste our first days in this amazing city! But I couldnt help it, jet lag who? I was here, in Tokyo, and it seemed like I was waking up not on the other side of the world, but at home, where I belonged. There was no exhausted sensation, no I need more sleep, no feeling like I am in a haze or any other horrible thing I had heard happen to so many others, I popped awake at an obscenely early hour that first day, ready, ready for all the intense experiences and excited squeals (there would be many) that awaited me.
What to do, that was a difficult question, what to do on our first day? With all that I wanted to accomplish while we were there picking what we did that first day was hard, I knew I didn’t want to rush, I knew that I wanted to take in every second of the day and leave nothing to waste and I knew this would happen. When we were planning/investigating for our trip I got this fantastic travel journal which I wanted to fill with all the amazing places and things I wanted us to do, and that was exactly what I did (I was still working on it on the flight over). My biggest thing though was that I didn’t want it to be an actual itinerary, I wanted to be able to wake up each day and open up the book and say, where do we want to go today? I also wanted it to be a living/ breathing entity that I updated as we lived through our adventure. So needless to say that first what do we want to do today was definitely a difficult question to answer! We decided that the best thing was to get a good look at the surroundings of where we would be living for almost 3 weeks. As I mentioned in my last post we had decided to stay in Odaiba (Tokyo Bay) which all through our trip and even as I write this now I truly believe was an absolutely fantastic decision!
Odaiba is a group of artificial islands that actually date back to the time of the shogun and they sit in Tokyo Bay, the current structures that inhabit these islands are definitely very modern and are more catered to a tourist or business destination. There is so much to do there and definitely worth a day of adventuring. But lets be honest the reason that we decided to stay there is 60 feet tall and fabulous! Im talking about the 1/1 scale model of RX-78-2 Gundam that was erected a little over a year ago at Diver City! Diver City is a huge shopping compound that was built around the same time they erected Gundam, it is five storeys of a huge variety of shops, western and not. For us though it was so all about Gundam, as it also houses one of only 2 Gundam Cafe’s in Tokyo as well as the Gundam Front and Gundam experience. For those of you that might not know what Gundam is (you definitely should though), Mobile Suit Gundam is an animated series that began in 1979 and has become a cultural phenomenon and has seen huge amounts of success and evolving into movies, figures, plastic model kits, and the collectors dream/nightmare!
The day was slightly windy and overcast so we decided to walk to Diver City which was about a 30 min stroll from our hotel. As we stepped outside of our hotel one of the first sites that greeted us was what is known to most as “Tokyo Big Sight”, this mammoth compound is actually a convention center where all types of conferences and events are held and home to one of the biggest annual anime extravaganzas that Tokyo has, which we just missed of course. Being that Odaiba is a group of artificial islands all made very close together their are numerous bridges connecting them, the one we had to cross is called “Dream Bridge” and let me say that is exactly what it is! This bridge is a mammoth concrete and steel pedestrian only bridge with beautiful details, light, and framework all around. When we were planning our trip we used Google Earth to check out all the hotels we were considering and when we were investigating our chosen hotel we saw this amazing bridge that appeared that we would have to cross to make our way to Gundam, so you can imagine my squeal of delight as I walked up to the “Dream Bridge and saw that it was the exact same marvel that I had seen from space (it was especially beautiful at night)!
You can honestly just spend a day walking around Odaiba and just enjoying your surroundings because as you go every section has its own theme and thus the landscape, structures and colors change to match, whether its Palette Town that is the home of Venus Fort (think The Venetian for anyone that has been to Vegas), or Aqua City that sits along the water and has a mini Statue of Liberty beside it as well as being the home of Sega Joypolis, or our most exciting destination of the day Diver City, everything around you changes as you go and the greenery was spectacular. All along our walk was a variety of gardens, fountains, and intricate benches where you can take a moment and stop to marvel at the scenery before you. That was, I have to say one of the things that struck me the most about Tokyo, no matter where we went, or how busy or congested that area was there was always nature sprouting out within the concrete jungle so that you can stop and remind yourself to enjoy life and unlike in America that was exactly what people were doing. From the salary man to the older or younger “Tokyoites” all seemed to find a moment in their day to enjoy the peace and beauty in their surroundings.
As we neared Diver City there was a small ascension in our path and right at the crest of it I saw it, Gundam (for all the Gundam fans I think I will be doing a separate post because there was just so much that it deserves one all for itself). There were a few times on this adventure that I found myself getting choked up and having to force back the tears (the first was when our plane touched down at Haneda airport) and it was happening again. You have to understand we are huge Gundam fans and have spent many an hour building our Gunpla (plastic model kits) and watched every moment as they erected this life size amazingness so to be standing in front of it and staring up with my mouth wide open (Im sure I looked hilarious), the fact that I was there, in person, and if it wasn’t for the fact that he was roped off I could actually touch him was almost a liitle to much for this “otaku” to handle. This trip would be full of several moments like this for me and just simply recounting this now makes me sigh with how much I miss Tokyo! Once I was able to focus on anything else I squealed with delight to see the Gundam Cafe was just about 50 feet away so as I started walking towards it to get what would be the first of many “Haro Latte’s” (I am obsessed with Haro) I realized that right out front of the cafe was a row of Gashapon (small vending machines of goodness/evil), nothing that you have ever experienced before will prepare you for these amazing little devils and if you are anything like me will soon discover that you need to have a completely seperate fund set aside for this little addiction and addicted we became having to stop and check out every row and end up with a small tote bag full of them by the end of our adventures! So here, on my first day in Tokyo I enjoyed a “Haro Latte”, my first Gashapon (who is still my fav.), and the sight of Gundam RX-78-2, and it was amazing!IMG_0164