Tokyo ’12 Part II: Tokyo!

Besides Tokyo Game Show, I traveled to a few places within Tokyo.  Honestly, this was the more fun part of my trip because I never had  chance to explore Tokyo until this September.

The first day I was there was pretty rainy until the latter half of the day.  I met up with Andrew and a few of my other friends at Harajuku.  Harajuku is the area where it’s all about fashion.  You will see many young people dressed up in trendy clothes.  Most of it is alright but once in awhile you’ll see a guy who is in parachute pants and some other bizarre clothing from the 80s.  Japan’s sense in fashion can be really strange and outdated at times.  As one might expect, there are ton of fashion stores around the area.  I didn’t really check them out but I took a few pictures:

The shocker of my visit to Harajuku was the Evangelion store.  I had no idea such a store existed.  Needless to say, to coincidentally run into it blew my mind.  I’m an avid Evangelion fan.  The store itself was amazing; there were tons of merchandise that I wanted to buy but it was very expensive.  A lot of the items were exclusive to the store.  One day, I want to go back!  Here’s a  pic of the store:

Nerdgasm.

I wish I could’ve taken more pictures of the inside but they wouldn’t allow photography.  The layout was very cool.

My friends wanted to check out the Pokemon Center as well.  I used to like Pokemon when I was in middle school but I just can’t keep up with the billions of new Pokemon that they create every year.  The Pokemon Center was pretty fun regardless though because the design was very similar to the Pokemon Center in the games.  They even had the tune looping inside.:

Our next stop was in Akihabara.  Akihabara, also known as Akiba, is the mecca for nerds in Japan.  Whatever your poison is, there will be a lot of it in Akiba, whether it’s anime, video games, figurines, etc.  I only explored the main street as we were pressed for time, but I could tell there was so much more to see.  Since we have our own version of Akiba in Osaka (Den Den Town), I wasn’t too taken aback of the sights.  However, it was still very cool:

 

Hatsune Miku is their goddess.

I wasn’t cool enough to go in.

 

The arcades there are amazing.  There’s this one arcade where it has a plethora of arcade games from the 80s to today.  It’s probably a good thing I don’t live by it, otherwise I would be wasting way too much money on them.

The next day I went to Shibuya.  Shibuya is famous for its crosswalk; hundreds of people cross it at once.:

There is also Hachiko, a famous dog that has his own statue by the station. It’s a popular meeting spot:

I stayed in Shinjuku, which is one of the busiest sections in Tokyo.  It has a little bit of everything.  The night life is quite crazy too.  This picture was taken at around 1 AM; things were still kickin’!:

Some other random shots of Shinjuku:

If you live in Japan and are ever in Tokyo, I’d recommend two places to eat at.  One of them is called Devilcraft, which serves delicious beer and amazing Chicago style deep dish pizza.  It’s been forever since I ate some and this really hit the spot.  Just make sure you make a reservation before you head over there, it can get packed during weeknights!:

Another place I’d recommend is Whoopi Goldburger.  Yes, that is the name of the place.  A lot of the burgers are named after famous people.  The burgers here are fantastic and the atmosphere was cozy.  You are even given the option to have a side of mashed potatoes to go along with your burger.  I honestly would rather get the fries but since I hadn’t eaten mashed potatoes in forever, it was too good to pass up:

Whoopi Goldburger.

My final stop of my trip took place at night.  It was the Golden Gai.  Golden Gai is a three block radius of hundreds of tiny bars.  Each bar usually has some sort of theme and can only sit 5 or 6 people at a time.  There is usually a seating fee but it’s completely worth it:

One entryway to Golden Gai.

We went to a nice bar that played some awesome fusion jazz music.  The drinks weren’t anything special but the bar master was really cool.   After that, we stopped at this strange anime karaoke bar.  I was hesitant at first but it ended up being really fun.  Apparently this bar is pretty famous as manga artists and voice actors/actresses from anime shows stop by there and give the bar master some sort of souvenir.  His place was covered by signatures from VAs and sketches from manga artists.  All across the bar are figurines and models of various different shows.  There is a seating charge to this place as well but the karaoke is completely free so the price is a steal.  You can choose whatever song you like but since the theme of the bar is anime, it’s usually recommended that you pick anime-related songs.  If you want a place to geek out to, this is definitely the place to go.  I don’t remember the name of it but if you’re walking down Golden Gai, you will either see the anime sign or hear some music blasting from inside.  The bar master himself is quite the nerd, he knows just about any song from any anime.  His voice is also amazing!  I tried to pick a super obscure song to try to stump him but he instantly recognized what I was singing and sang it along with me.  He doesn’t even have to read the lyrics.  Crazy.  Here are some pics of the anime bar:

 

And here are some pictures of Golden Gai:  The streets are narrow but I really liked the atmosphere to it:

 

There was a really nice walkway right next to the Golden Gai district:

While Tokyo Game Show was fun, exploring Tokyo itself was the highlight of my three day trip.  I barely skimmed through the surface though; there is still much more to see there!  I’m glad there is though, because I just have another excuse to visit Japan’s capital 😀

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2 responses to “Tokyo ’12 Part II: Tokyo!

  1. Pingback: Spring Breaking in Japan: Kansai | The Space Between Two Worlds

  2. Pingback: Spring Breaking in Japan: Tokyo | The Space Between Two Worlds

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