Tokyooo~!

(Originally written: Tuesday, September 16, 2013)

I just got home from a weekend in Tokyo.

… I never thought I would be able to say that!

Bright and early Saturday morning, I hopped on the Shinkansen at Akita Station, bound for Tokyo. The ticket was expensive (16500 yen [approximately $165.00 CDN] one way), but this picture alone made it worth the price!

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My first Shinkansen ride! Beyond excited. :)

What. An. Experience! To know I was travelling on one of Japan’s best-known icons, flying through the countryside at 275 km/h… It was unreal.

I arrived in Tokyo just after noon and met up with K, J, and Y. After dropping our bags off at our hostel (which turned out to be underwhelming… haha), we went to a maid café in Akihabara. I know what you’re thinking – maid café?! I’d like to dispel that myth right now: maid cafés, at least the one we went to, are not the least bit creepy/sick/weird. They are, however, incredibly cute! I ordered food and they drew a picture of Sailor Moon on my egg for me. We also got our picture taken with them. It was a wonderful experience and I really want to go back!

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At the maid café with my cute food. :)

Then it was off to Harajuku for the Sailor Moon musical! Ahhhhh, it was so amazing. It was entirely in Japanese so, although I couldn’t understand all of what was going on, I could understand the major plot points. It ran just like an episode of the anime. It made me so happy! The girl playing Usagi (Sailor Moon) did an absolutely wonderful job and was so true to the character. It was definitely a highlight of my trip!

Outside the Sailor Moon theatre! Ahhh, we’re just a little excited. :)

We were starving by this point, so we walked to a nearby yakiniku restaurant. Yakiniku is a grill-your-own-meat kind of restaurant. We actually bought tabehoudai and nomihoudai, or “all you can eat” and “all you can drink.” For a mere 3500 yen, we stuffed our faces with delicious grilled meat, veggies, french fries, and drinks for two hours. I want to go baccckkk.

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Our side of the table! This is just a tiny preview of how much we actually ate (and drank)… It was amazing!

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Eight very full bellies!

It was late, so we decided to call it a night – but not before having some fun on the subway with our new Sailor Moon phone cases!

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Sailor Moon FTW!

The next day started out rainy. That didn’t stop us from visiting Senso-ji, though! Senso-ji is an old Buddhist temple in the heart of Asakusa, Tokyo. It is absolutely beautiful! We spent two hours here, praying, getting a fortune, and then shopping for omiyage and sweets along the string of shops leading up to the temple itself. It was a great morning!

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In front of one of the gates leading into Senso-ji!

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Rain or shine, Japan is a beautiful country.

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Leaving Senso-ji!

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Looking up the shop-lined street to Senso-ji.

The rain cleared up as we left Senso-ji and headed to Roppongi, making sure to take a quick shopping stop-over in Ginza! We found a MAC Cosmetics and I bought a mascara – yay! We made it to Roppongi not long after 4pm. We bought our tickets for the Harry Potter exhibit (!!!!!) and for the Observation Floor, then it was up to the 52nd floor of the Mori Arts Tower.

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Harry Potter Exhibit! And our ticket to the 52nd Floor Observatory.

What. A. View!

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The stunning view of Tokyo from the Mori Arts Tower!

I am in love with big cities and getting to see Tokyo from such a vantage point was AMAZING. I could have stayed there forever!

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Tokyo is so big! It stretches on forever in all directions.

Ahhhhhh, I love Tokyo. <3

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I love Tokyo!

We went to the Harry Potter exhibit at 7:30pm. The line up to get in was ridiculous – I think we waited in line for about 30 minutes, despite already having bought our tickets. Throughout the entire exhibit, there were a lot of people and it was sometimes hard to see the exhibit itself, but regardless, it was still HARRY POTTER and it was still SO AWESOME. The first room involved a “sorting ceremony.” A witch led the ceremony and, in Japanese, asked if there were any volunteers. One girls went up and I thought, “man, I’d love to do that,” so when the witch asked again, I shot my hand up in the air. She picked me and I got sorted by the sorting hat! She asked me what house I would prefer and, as per my Pottermore sorting, I said Hufflepuff – lo and behold, I was sorted into Hufflepuff! It was so cool and nerdy and made my night. Ahhh, amazing. <3

We spent the next 45 minutes wandering through the exhibit, getting close up looks at different costumes and set designs used throughout the movies. I got to sit in Hagrid’s chair, pull a mandrake, and play Quidditch. It was so much fun! Aaaand now I really want to re-read the books/watch the movies… hah!

We were so tired that we didn’t spend much time in Roppongi before heading back to the hostel.

Day 3 in Tokyo brought a typhoon that destroyed our 105 yen umbrellas. :( However, we made the most of it and went shopping at Forever 21 in Shinjuku! I then said goodbye to K and J, who had to catch their bus back to Nagano, while I hopped on the metro to Shibuya. I got off and wandered around before I realized I was lost and overwhelmed and alone in Tokyo. I quickly grabbed my things from the locker where I had stored them and took the metro up to Harajuku to visit the Johnny’s Entertainment shop in an effort to improve my quickly plummeting mood.

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The entrance to the Johnny’s store!

Getting to look at pictures of Arashi definitely cheered me up and, with renewed spirits, I walked across the street to the Meiji Shrine. There weren’t as many tourists as there were at Senso-ji! The shrine itself was beautiful – it reminded me so much of the shrine in Inuyasha! I even prayed at the god tree. Dream come true much? I got to see parts of two traditional weddings, too! It was so calming; exactly what I needed after an almost meltdown in the streets of Tokyo.

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The “god tree” at Meiji Shrine.

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The grounds at Meiji Shrine are stunningly beautiful!

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One of the two Japanese weddings I was lucky to catch a glimpse of!

I made my way back to the main area of Harajuku and did some more eating, shopping, and eating. Parts of Harajuku actually reminded me of New York City and I felt all natsukashii for my trip to NYC last June with Mom. <3

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Shopping in Harajuku!

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Doesn’t Harajuku remind you of NYC?

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A famous crepe shop that I didn’t know was famous – I just thought that banana + chocolate + chocolate sauce + ice cream + whipped cream sounded absolutely delicious for supper! <3

I got the metro to Tokyo Station around 8pm and then proceeded to board my night bus for the nine hour drive back to Akita. Oh man. Nine hours is way too long to spend on a bus. I arrived home at 6:30am this morning – just in time to get a shower and race to school for 8am! I then taught a full five classes (which were all AMAZING, by the way. Teaching is so much fun!), and am now subsequently exhausted. It was worth it, though! Three amazing days in Tokyo – it will definitely happen again! (Except maybe no night bus this time!)

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東京大好き~!

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