2012 Winter/Spring (full set on flickr)
So after I met Maki in 2011 and we had a lot of fun together, I needed to get back ASAP. Two coworkers were traveling around the world to make a photo book and their first stop was Tokyo. They asked me if I'd be willing to go with them and show them around and get them started off on their trip (neither had done any real international travel before). It was a perfect excuse to go back! This trip has a lot of domestic time, so brace yourself for lots of food pics.
I arrived at Narita about 4 hours before my friends, so the first thing I did was check into the showers they have there. A nice hot shower + wank is the best way to freshen up after a 14 hour flight. Totally worth the 1000 yen.
I then ate an anthropomorphic hotdog
For eating they were about as picky as me/mike were on our first trip 5 years ago, but for the first night we managed to get some yakitori. I made sure to order some squid :)
Since my last trip I had switched to an iPhone so I needed to get a microSIM card (last year's SIM was regular sized)
I figure I'll start them off with a bang so I take them straight to harajuku.
They're trying to bring back Tamagotchi so they have this tamagochi goods store in Harajuku now. And it has a super-cute donut shop! Yummy!
It's weird spending time with people who are in japan for their first time, as so many things are novel to them :)
They spent a lot of time taking pictures and recording trip videos. Lisa had a stack of 4 iPhones in her purse just due to how quickly they ran down the batteries and all the various SIM cards they needed.
LOL crepe garbage can
Managed to get some good pictures in Yoyogi as well
LOL2 nazi flags for sale
Mmmm hypersaturated photo of shibuya at night
"Look in this window when you've drank up"
To get people to go back to Touhoku they had these nice retro shinkansen posters
I had a great hotel room in Tokyo this time around. Right by Shibuya, and my room had a washing machine/dryer and a full kitchen right in my room! Super handy.
One thing I love about Japanese hotels is they always have humidifiers. I find hotel rooms in other countries get stuffy and dry due to the aircon, and this helps a lot.
View from hotel balconey. I love japanese architecture. So functional.
This was scrawled in the stairwell used by the cleaning ladies..
I'm not sure if the signs saying "Clash!" actually mean "clash", or "crash". Even if it said "Crash!" it'd be funny.
I bought a 3x overpriced water bottle that looks like the chuo line train.
Swedish things! In Japan! How Exotic!
Finally got to do purikura for the first time! I've wanted to do it for ages but either the person I've been with thinks it's dumb, or it's been one of those "girls only" places or something.
I love it when it rains in Japan since it means I can use a clear konbini umbrella <3
Went with Scott to Roppongi Hills to get night pictures of the Tokyo Tower. Hint for removing glare in windows: Use your jacket.
One problem with going in January is that it's FREAKIN' COLD. It was even snowing one day.
<3 Mos Burger. Love it so much.
I'm not good at going to lots of touristy places so I actually had to do some research to find cool places to take photos of. One night we went to that temple in Asakusa
Did I mention it was COLD AS HELL?! I was guzzling hot drinks out of vending machines and lining my pockets with chemical heaters.
Zabitan was in town one afternoon so we met up at the AKB Café. That fucker got the Mayuyu coaster! Luckily he gifted it to me~
I traded him for this ho'
Starbucks <3 (fuck y'all haters)
Mayuyu taking over the Yamanote line
After a week they moved on to Hong Kong for Chinese New Year, and I went on to Kagoshima to reunite with my girlfriend.
Must remember to avoid depositing...
Padded out my ongoing collection of japanese local train cards with Kagoshima's RapICa
Many people know of Odaiba's Statue of Liberty, but some random car dealership in Kahoshima have their own...
In an effort to indoctrinate my girlfriend in Swedish culture, we made Swedish meatballs together. I still <3 japanese grocery shopping.
For some reason, Aeon supermarkets sell swedish mashed potatoes. I'm not quite sure how they're any different from japanese ones?
OMFG awesome ramen
And AKB Sushi
A view over Kagoshima and the still-active Sakurajima volcano on an exceptionally clear day.
My girlfriend is big into Snoopy, and Mister Donut had this deal where if you bought 16 donuts you got an assortment of Snoopy goods. So I got it for her <3 Luckily you could get coupons for the extra donuts, so you didn't have to eat them all the same day.
Girlfriend had work in Osaka on a Monday so we went for the weekend. The first day we spent in Kobe.
In 2002 Danish TV produced and broadcast a travel series called "Vagn i Japan" where this danish guy shows off japan (it can now be watched at dr.dk). In one episode, he visits a danish guy who set up a restaunt in Kobe with a traditional danish hot dog stand outside. Ever since, I've wanted to visit this hot dog stand.
I did a bunch of research online, and it turns out the restaurant is no longer. Buuut the guy just moved to having only a hot dog stand, more centrally instead :D So we went :D You can find the website here
It was lots of fun, I spoke a bunch in Swedish/Danish to him, and this old drunk japanese guy came in and had lots of beers, bought me a few rounds and tried his best to speak english (this was at 11 AM or so).
The website advertises "Hansen Smiles" for ¥0, and it does not disappoint!
Across from his hot dog restaurant is a San Francisco Chinatown
Continuing her indoctrination we went to the Kobe IKEA. Right at the metro stop the swedishness starts
We shared a plate of IKEA's Swedish meatballs and concluded the ones we made were better <3
Swedes may find this funny. Their Swede shop has imported Swedish beer. Mmm, yummy swedish beer.
Nope, they have fucking Stockholms. The cheap-ass beer that the homeless people drink. SRSLY?! Well I guess it's IKEA, but they're not being a very good ambassador!
Also wandering randomly around we came across a DesignTorget-type place, that had these dish towels. WTF?!
So, dinner in Kobe. What do you eat?
Kobe beef of course!
I love how the Japanese are all photobugs and they know it. Once you've selected your food, they bring out the raw beef for you to take a picture of it XD
The Kobe Beef was, without a doubt, the best meat I've ever eaten. It just melts in your mouth. The flavor is amazingly rich, and the texture is gorgeous. It doesn't really need a sauce or anything, you get little piles of salt/pepper to dip in.
(BTW my #2 meat experience was "australian wagyu" at the traders hotel in Kuala Lumpur)
To round off a day of non-stop eating, we had some Cold Stone ice cream. They've discontinued stocking peanut butter, but I was able to order off-menu because they had a little left.
Not much else to do in Osaka but eat, so the next day we had some Okonomiyaki from some semi-famous place. Had to stand in line for half an hour. It was worth it.
It kinda looks like barf but it's really damn good
At the time my girlfriend didn't have internet at home, to get any work done I had to spend all day at places with WiFi. Any time I needed some real bandwidth I checked into this Internet Café. Their WiFi was password-protected, but I guessed the password: it was the name of the place.
They also had engrish.
McDonalds throught Japan also has free WiFi, so I got to sample their "Big America" series, including the Las Vegas and Broadway burgers.
Cafés had WiFi too,
That got old real quick so I ordered a WiMAX router. It got about 10-20 Mbit.
Peace Hair: Smile Life
During this trip I also realized I'm eligible for a bunch of Point Cards I didn't have. And I *LOVE* japanese point cards. So I started stocking up.
T-Card that works at Tsutaya/FamilyMart
Ponta for Lawson
And (not pictured), Mister Donut.
We also finally got her some Fiber internet. 30 MBit/s max clocked speed. It's literally a fiber-optic port in the wall. In Sweden, "Fiber" internet is often distributed by Ethernet in the building, so this was a bit of a surprise to me.
To everyone making fun of California Rolls in the U.S.: YES they do exist in Japan nowadays.
I have no idea what this says. "MAD LOWDY - RIDAZ FAMILY"?
Kagoshima is famous for a kind of pig that makes an especially tasty pork, called Kurobuta (black pig). There's a delicious restaurant called Kurokatsu who make katsu from this pork.
This is the kind of emegency preparedness pamphlets you can expect when you live under the watch of an active volcano.
Retro Fanta bottle <3
Mitsuya Cider retro bottle <3<3
In March, Suntory updated their recipe for Premium Malts, so we had to do a comparison. Conclusion: Old Malts flavor was slightly better, but new Malts has better aftertaste.
Gf had a certification test in Fukuoka on a sunday, so we spent two days there.
Freshness burger :D
Fukuoka has these food tents called "yatai". They have some great food, and have a cosy intimate atmosphere. And beer.
Since the test attracted people from all over Japan, literally all the hotels were booked 100% solid. So we had to resort to a Love Hotel for the night. Love Hotels are freakin *awesome*. For the price of a nice regular hotel (ca 10,000yen/night), we got a huge room with a sofa with big-screen TV and karaoke machine, and the bath had a huge bubble jacuzzi with TV and waterproof remote control, a steam room, and big-ass shower.
Payment was done anonymously though a vacuum tube system. And the minibar was full of H things :fuckyou:
Hint for yummy candy in Fukuoka: Hakata Manju
As it was getting warmer, wearing a huge jacket was no longer an option. I had only packed for maybe 3 weeks (and rebooked/extended this trip to the max 90 days...), I didn't have anything between "T-shirt" and "Huge ass jacket". We went to any Big&Tall store we could find, and in Osaka went to foreign stores like H&M and Gap etc, but they had nothing in my size. So my gf unbeknownst to me ordered me a long-sleeved shirt from Sweden. From H&M. LOL.
K-ON animu goods at Lawson. I like the tea cups.
Spring had arrived, and the Sakura took their hold. Sadly it was quite windy weather so they blew off the trees right away leaving the viewing quite sparse.
Sadly, a tourist visa is only 90 days, and eventually you must leave...
I had 2 days before my flight left in Tokyo, where the Sakura were still on the trees
Bought some beer and had a seat in Yoyogi, which wasn't as mad this year.
As it goes in Japan, random girls waved me over and we had a chat. Two of them had studied Portuguese(!) and spent time in Brazil(!!).
This guy supplied a good 5 minutes of entertainment. First he pissed the in the garbage, then tried to get back on his bike, fell down, found out his pants were around his ankles, spent minutes getting them back on, then tried so hard to start biking. Eventually he fell down in this position, and when I returned later he was still there. LOL alcohol...
GIVE ME FIVE! Guitars!
Dinner at, where else?
Next day I returned to my hood from 2010 and took a nap in the park.
The last night I stayed in a swank airport hotel. The check-in lady casually asked when I was checking out and I said my flight borded at 10 in the morning. I sleep in like an idiot, and get a call and knock on the door at 9 "weren't you planning on getting on the bus now?". They had noted it, and woke me up when I hadn't showed up <3 That's service. If it wasn't for them I'd have missed my flight!
Damn I need to find a more permanent solution (;_;)