Tokyo Tower.

My Japan pics are nearly finishing — just one more day to go — but luckily, keoshi just started with his batches, so don’t forget to take a look, because it’s well worth it!

In Shimbashi, we visited the famous Nagakin Capsule Tower. This unique capsule hotel was built in the 70s, as a postwar hotel. The design is absolutely amazing and it’s quite a shame to see it a bit degraded.

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after the jump

Back to Ginza.

Thank you all for the get well wishes and the suggestions! Really appreciate it!

After all the excitement at the Koshien we embarked on one of the first Shinkansen back to Tokyo, where we picked up our luggages at our wonderful Airbnb place and went to Mitsui Garden Hotel, where we had been before. The feeling of going back to Ginza only deepened the certainty that the trip was coming to an end, and it was bittersweet.

In Ginza we explored the neighbourhood and discovered even more wonderful places.

Unmade bed in Osaka.
Unmade bed in Osaka.
Still in Osaka.
Still in Osaka.

Continue reading “Back to Ginza.”

To the Koshien.

So let’s finish this! I miss Japan terribly. We’re already thinking about the next trip to Japan, in a couple of years, and it’s going to be even better than before.

I still have photos from Ireland and Paris to post…! But let’s visit Japan now.

After a wonderful day at Universal Studios, we took the first train out to Osaka, where we walked around a bit and ate our lunch before heading to the Koshien stadium with Atsuko and her boyfriend.

Still in Universal's premises.
Still in Universal’s premises.
We miss you, Japanese rollercoasters!
We miss you, Japanese rollercoasters!

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Being at Koshien stadium was like a dream come true for me. I am a big Mitsuru Adachi fan, who, for those of you who don’t know, is one of the best and most famous mangakas, whose mangas focus mainly on sports, namely, baseball. So I’ve been reading baseball mangas for a very long time, and just like any character in those mangas, going to a game at the Koshien was the ultimate goal.

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Cold soba. Delicious.
Cold soba. Delicious.
Eel for keoshi.
Eel for keoshi.

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And it did not disappoint one bit. Completely humongous and full of fans dressed appropriately with tiny plastic bats to make some noise while the game was on. There were also girls going around all the time serving beer. Now let’s pause here for a second. I haven’t been in other stadiums or games in any other country besides Portugal, but from my experience, taking plastic bats and drinking alcohol during a game would be a one way ticket to a bloody death at the stands, so I was absolutely amazed, once again, with how civilised Japanese are.

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The whole experience was stunning. From eating out of bento boxes to happily celebrate the wins of Hanshin Tigers with everyone around us, to letting go of worm like balloons to celebrate the last point was just an amazing experience, one that we are definitely not going to forget.

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There are no words to describe what was really felt by us during nearly four hours. Definitely unforgettable. And here are some videos (with the iPhone 5s)!

Hope you enjoyed it! Come back tomorrow for more!

Universal Studios in Japan

I hope you all had a wonderful christmas! I had a really good Christmas with lots of really nice little things, for me and the baby. I really can’t wait to finish the photos from Japan, so I can start uploading more recent photos. This year is going to be very different from all other years so I want to properly document every little detail — not al of them are going to be posted here, of course, but at least a few, yes.

So there are only a couple of batches more to finish the photos from Japan, which also saddens me a bit… but that’s life. Gotta move on.

This post will show you only a small part of this very wonderful day spend at Universal Studios in Japan. On a complete whim, we decided we should take the opportunity of visiting the park because The Wizarding World of Harry Potter had just opened a few days after we arrived in Japan, so we just had to take a look.

It wasn’t as easy as standing in a line to go in, unfortunately. Everyone should have the opportunity to access that part of the park once you get tickets, but it doesn’t really work like that. We quickly learned that we would only go in the Harry Potter park by sheer luck. They would give out lottery tickets that would maybe give you access. We went insane. Basically we got up at 5 am, travelled all the way from Tokyo, booked a hotel in the park, *just* to see the Harry Potter theme park and we might not get a chance to even take a look.

We had to get really nasty and we experienced part of the Japanese culture that, even though we knew it existed, was surprisingly unpleasant for us foreigners. I do not want to go much into it because after everything was solved, we sort of promised we wouldn’t talk about it — even though I was so pissed off that my initial intention was to let the whole world know what was going on — and the guy who tried his best to help us was really really nice, so…

I know this is all very very very vague, but I just wanted to say the minimum, meaning, do not buy tickets specifically to just see the Harry Potter part of the park. You might not get in. If you want more info about this drop me a line. 

aaaand having said that, here are the photos!

Harajuku station, veeeery early in the morning.
Harajuku station, veeeery early in the morning.
Osaka in the horizon.
Osaka in the horizon.
and here we go in!
and here we go in!

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Jurassic park ride: this was aaaaaawesome! Exactly like the movie!
Jurassic park ride: this was aaaaaawesome! Exactly like the movie!

Before we hit the Jurassic park ride we went to the Back to the Future one, where we met a Swedish girl who was studying in Japan. She was very very very red from the sun and limping from hurt feet and she stuck to us like glue. Don’t ask why. After the ride she was excitingly asking ‘so where are we going next??’ and we knew we were doomed. She talked too much and didn’t seem to have any other plans but to be stuck to us for the rest of the day… After the Jurassic Park ride we got proper wet so we took the opportunity to try get ourselves dry(ish) and we sort of, kind of…lost her.

If by a crazy odd chance you (Swedish girl) are reading this, we really did lose sight of you! Sorry…!

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you could take pictures with an upside hanging down spider man, but there was a line...
you could take pictures with an upside hanging down spider man, but there was a line…

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Highball! This word still gets us to laugh these days.
Highball! This word still gets us to laugh these days.

Japanese like to get drunk and they like to get drunk fast. This is a clever blend between some sort of soda and… whiskey. After all we’d been through with the Harry Potter tickets we felt we needed it, and needless to say we were laughing our asses off just a few minutes after this.

And already inside Wizarding World, this is Mr. Weasley's enchanted car — so basically you get in through the Forbidden Forest, which is actually very very dense, completely hiding the other part of the park.
And already inside Wizarding World, this is Mr. Weasley’s enchanted car — so basically you get in through the Forbidden Forest, which is actually very very dense, completely hiding the other part of the park.
Hogsmeade ahead! This was soooooo exciting!
Hogsmeade ahead! This was soooooo exciting!
Hogwarts' express!
Hogwarts’ express!
More hogsmeade.
More hogsmeade.
TCHAN! Hogwarts! This was absolutely amazing.
TCHAN! Hogwarts! This was absolutely amazing.

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Olivander's shop.
Olivander’s shop.
And inside Olivander's, exactly like the movie.
And inside Olivander’s, exactly like the movie.
I have to say that when I read the books, I always imagined Olivander's as being much more messy in terms of wand boxes, but this was close enough.
I have to say that when I read the books, I always imagined Olivander’s as being much more messy in terms of wand boxes, but this was close enough.
Hagrid's hut, which was exactly the same.
Hagrid’s hut, which was exactly the same.
Here it is!
Here it is!

The park was absolutely brilliant. It was completely secluded from the rest of the park and it really felt like you were in another world, completely different and very magical. All scenery was spot on, with tiny little details that made everything look even more real. As we were lining up for the Hogwarts ride (we didn’t know it was a ride) we go in through the Herbology class premisses, with Madrakes screaming their lungs out and other sort of things. We go in the castle through a corridor and the gargoyle that guards the Headsmaster’s office can be seen at the end. After that we drop our bags all sort of belongings (hence why I don’t have any pictures from the inside), and go through a number of different classrooms and places until we reach the Gryffindor’s common room, where we get in line again for the ride.

The ride itself is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Even K was screaming next to me. It was a broom ride behind Harry and his buddies, with sudden and very (freaking) close encounters with giant spiders and Dementors. In the end we see the entire school clapping for you because you were able to go through with it. You get off in the Great Hall with flying enchanted candles and all, and a completely new person.

I loved it.

Hogwarts by night.
Hogwarts by night.
Owl post - this was brilliant!
Owl post – this was brilliant!
Brooms.
Brooms.
Checking the latest sales.
Checking the latest sales.
And we finished our day at Hard Rock Cafe.
And we finished our day at Hard Rock Cafe.
Everything was delicious!
Everything was delicious!
The surroundings of the park.
The surroundings of the park.

Now I wanna read Harry Potter again.

Hope you liked this one!

 

Shibuya and Harajuku.

After being in Tokyo for a while we wanted to enjoy just being in the city, without any sort of agenda, so after trying to get tickets to the Ghibli Museum and failing miserably — we should have gotten it ages in advance (we *will* go back) — we decided to enjoy ourselves walking around Shibuya. We had ramen at the same place we had ramen for the very first time, we strolled around the neighbourhood a bit and settled on a bowling game — it was awesome.

 

Harajuku
Harajuku
Bought both of these in Japan; the converse in Kyoto, and the Nikes in Harajuku, and I have to say that the nikes are without a shadow of a doubt *the best* shoes I have ever had. I'm actually thinking about buying another pair.
Bought both of these in Japan; the converse in Kyoto, and the Nikes in Harajuku, and I have to say that the nikes are without a shadow of a doubt *the best* shoes I have ever had. I’m actually thinking about buying another pair.

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Futons in the sun.
Futons in the sun.

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delicious ramen.
delicious ramen.

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Shinjuku.
Shinjuku.
Super mario in Shinjuku!
Super mario in Shinjuku!
Playing some bowling!
Playing some bowling!

We then headed to our own neighbourhood, Harajuku. We thought we had explored it pretty well last year but, alas, we found new very impressive venues. In just seconds, however, it started to pour down Japan-style (=very heavily) and we headed home. In just seconds everything went away and we went out for dinner at an izakaya that specialised in yakitori.

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Back to Harajuku.
Back to Harajuku.

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Beautiful little corners everywhere.
Beautiful little corners everywhere.

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Awesome Harajuku style.
Awesome Harajuku style.

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Delicious everything.
Delicious everything.

Everything was especially delicious that evening. Mainly because we decided (against previous plans) that we would head to Osaka a day before planned to go to the Universal Studios — The Wizarding World of Harry Potter had opened up just a few days before our arrival in Japan, and there are only two HP parks in the world (the other one is in Orlando), so we decided we should grab that opportunity and go — which meant we were only going to go back to our place in Harajuku two days after this evening, to pick up our bags and move to our hotel in Ginza. So it would be our last night in Harajuku (how I miss this place…!), which became a very special place for us, just like a second home.

Hope you enjoyed this one.

Okonomiyaki and the Ramen museum.

After Enoshima we had a really delicious Okonomiyaki at Yokohama station and headed to the Ramen museum. The ramen museum featured an old Japan, in 1958, when the instant noodles were invented. Besides the whole awesome scenario there were also famous ramen restaurants where you could have your bowl of goodness.

Okonomiyaki at the station.
Okonomiyaki at the station.
Ramen Museum at its best.
Ramen Museum at its best.

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There was a "police officer" there who kindly took our picture.
There was a “police officer” there who kindly took our picture.
everything was cleverly place.
everything was cleverly place.
Tuxedo kamen!
Tuxedo kamen!
public baths.
public baths.
You felt like you were in that age and time.
You felt like you were in that age and time.

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The old tv sets showed news featuring the newest air raids and you could hear explosions and planes.
The old tv sets showed news featuring the newest air raids and you could hear explosions and planes.
movies of the time.
movies of the time.
old barber.
old barber.

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And a ramen shop with everything you need.
And a ramen shop with everything you need.

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And back in our Harajuku neighbourhood.
And back in our Harajuku neighbourhood.

Definitely a place to visit if you have the time.

Have a nice evening!

Climbing Enoshima.

Before I start rambling about baby clothes and baby strollers and so on, let’s finish the photos from Japan, yeah? Yes.

After a wonderful day and an even better night at Robot Restaurant, we took the train and headed out to Enoshima. This is a veeery tiny island connected to the mainland through a bridge. It’s tiny and beautiful, full of mountains and restaurants serving delicious donburi and dried up octopus. It was quite a fun way to spend a slightly rainy day.

It wasn't cold at all.
It wasn’t cold at all.

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Touristy place.
Touristy place.
look at those eyes!
look at those eyes!
From the top.
From the top.
Lining up for the temple.
Lining up for the temple.

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From above.
From above.
From the lighthouse.
From the lighthouse.
This is a classic anime/manga scene. Can you tell?
This is a classic anime/manga scene. Can you tell?

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Just beautiful.
Just beautiful.
Guardians.
Guardians.
Beautiful scene.
Beautiful scene.

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The love bell. Can you see the typical love umbrella with the names underneath??
The love bell. Can you see the typical love umbrella with the names underneath??
You should be able to see Mount Fuji somewhere... over... there... nope.
You should be able to see Mount Fuji somewhere… over… there… nope.
These were so disgusting...! We were supposed to go in a cave, literally inside the island, but these were ALL over the place — there was a freaking warning for it — so we decided against going.
These were so disgusting…! We were supposed to go in a cave, literally inside the island, but these were ALL over the place — there was a freaking warning for it — so we decided against going.
Hmmm.... octopus.
Hmmm…. octopus.

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Heading out.
Heading out.

And this was our happy stroll through Enoshima. How I miss that octopus. How I miss Japan…!

Have a nice evening!

Robot Restaurant.

This is the craziest most awesome place in the whole world I believe. It could only have come out as a product of Japanese minds.

I intend to let the pictures speak by itself, because there are really no words that can accurately describe what that place is. But I’ll try.

In the heart of Kabuki-cho lies Robot Restaurant. Is it a restaurant? Is it a strip club? Is it a mecha-thing-place? A game shop? It’s all that and maybe more. Except a restaurant.

You start lining up with everybody else at the very flashy entrance, that has the two giant robot ladies that we saw the very first time strolling around the streets in Shinjuku.

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The ones we see in the street.
The ones we see in the street.
Because robots also play guitars, okay?
Because robots also play guitars, okay?
Only a small sample of why we couldn't find the lift door.
Only a small sample of why we couldn’t find the lift door.

Once in, the flashiness is so intense that you loose it. It all kind of a blur of different colours, animals, mirrors, lights and whatnot. We were so confused that we got lost. We went down a flight of stairs that had pretty girls in princess-mononoke-like masks sitting on each step, and when the stairs where done and I face forward (I was hypnotised by the girls) I see a big bulky robot, that turned around to reveal his bright green eyes.

the robot!
the robot!

After the initial shock we realised that we were not supposed to be there (no one said anything to us) so we went up the stairs and found the elevador that we were supposed to go in.

Once the elevador opens its doors we find ourselves in a humongous room with sea-shells giant chairs and glass opulent tables, were a girl in a minimal cat suit sat us. On our table – surprise! – a robot dinosaur that – surprise! – reacts to our touch. It behaves like a pet. And it’s creepy. And adorable. And creepy.

The creepy-adorable pet. I couldn't stop petting it.
The creepy-adorable pet. I couldn’t stop petting it.
work attire.
work attire.

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many tourists around.
many tourists around.
Enjoying his birthday gift!
Enjoying his birthday gift!
mirrors on the ceiling.
mirrors on the ceiling.

We have a drink and then start to hear music, violins and pianos and all of the sort, are being played by some very professional musicians that are somehow dressed like silver power rangers. It’s awesome.

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She was very nice.
She was very nice.

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And then we are directed to the true thing. The moment we had been eagerly waiting! A room lined up with chairs on both sides and completely dark. But there’s about to be light.

I’m pretty sure the entire show has a storyline, but it’s just very confusing and difficult to follow with SO MUCH going on. You have girls in drums facing more girls in drums, and then a pterodactyl appears and the robots as well and there’s a fight between good and evil and out of the jungle comes the Kung Fu Panda to save the day, but it’s actually a spider that kills the evil queen that is going to be eaten by the giant snake.

let the show start!
let the show start!

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These were the girls we found on the stairs.
These were the girls we found on the stairs.

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yeah. Pretty jaw-dropping.
yeah. Pretty jaw-dropping.

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The evil queen.
The evil queen.
eaten by a giant snake.
eaten by a giant snake.

See what I mean? That’s not even half of it!

There isn’t much more I can say about the show, but even for some of you who are now thinking this is completely insane, yes, you are absolutely right. But it’s a right-kind of insane. You are absolutely engaged and in awe with every little detail you can get your eyes on. It’s an amazing and very unique experience, completely totally and utterly magnificent.

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Those bikes were real and amazing!
Those bikes were real and amazing!
The end of the show.
The end of the show.
too bad I didn't get her.
too bad I didn’t get her.

If you get a chance to go, don’t hesitate for even a second, go.