Author Topic: Sayonara for a couple weeks. -- UPDATE!!  (Read 12544 times)

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Offline Hanafuda

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Sayonara for a couple weeks. -- UPDATE!!
« on: June 13, 2013, 11:33 PM »
My flight doesn't leave until 5am Saturday, but I'm going to be pretty busy until then, so I'm officially checking out until July. Next stop, Narita airport. I'll be seeing Nikko, Kegon Falls, Kamakura, Tokyo Disneyland, and plenty of stuff all around Tokyo. And, with any luck, I'll be coming home with some nice goodies for my ED-N8 and SD2SNES.


Aba, yo.


« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 04:39 PM by Hanafuda »

Offline The_Atomik_Punk!

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Re: Sayonara for a couple weeks.
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2013, 04:39 AM »
Hey, I hope you and your family have a great trip, take care!

Offline Drakon

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Re: Sayonara for a couple weeks.
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2013, 05:58 AM »
My flight doesn't leave until 5am Saturday, but I'm going to be pretty busy until then, so I'm officially checking out until July. Next stop, Narita airport. I'll be seeing Nikko, Kegon Falls, Kamakura, Tokyo Disneyland, and plenty of stuff all around Tokyo. And, with any luck, I'll be coming home with some nice goodies for my ED-N8 and SD2SNES.


Aba, yo.

Wait...you're japanese?

Offline Hanafuda

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Re: Sayonara for a couple weeks.
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2013, 03:35 PM »
My flight doesn't leave until 5am Saturday, but I'm going to be pretty busy until then, so I'm officially checking out until July. Next stop, Narita airport. I'll be seeing Nikko, Kegon Falls, Kamakura, Tokyo Disneyland, and plenty of stuff all around Tokyo. And, with any luck, I'll be coming home with some nice goodies for my ED-N8 and SD2SNES.


Aba, yo.

Wait...you're japanese?


No, I'm not Japanese. I'm a West Virginia redneck, but I started studying Japanese when I was 18 years old. I spent two years living/working there in the early 90's after college, then got introduced to my wife (she's japanese) by a mutual friend in 1999. We've been married almost 13 years. When I go to work I'm an American, but at home it's more weird. We speak a mix of Japanese and English around the house, eat mostly japanese food, and watch japanese TV (thank you bittorrent). The only English-speaking programs I watch are Top Gear, Game of Thrones, and the occasional BBC documentary (thank you bittorrent).  ;D

Offline Drakon

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Re: Sayonara for a couple weeks.
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2013, 04:04 PM »
Top gear rocks!

Offline Hanafuda

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Re: Sayonara for a couple weeks. -- UPDATE!!
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2013, 05:24 PM »
Hey guys,

Today (06/24) is the first chance I've had to get on the internet since the first night I got here. After one night in Tokyo, we went north to my in-laws' house. Great people, but they're living in the stone age. We came back to Tokyo today ... for the next week we're staying in the "Grand Pacific le Daiba." It's an extraordinary hotel, and considering the location (check out the pic below of our view), at $200 a night it's an amazing bargain as well.

I'm gonna load you down with pics now .... like it or not. Hopefully I don't run into any # of pics per post limits cuz I need to go to bed soon. And before anyone feels the need to comment, yes I'm older than you.

My daughter and me in Shibuya, Day 1.



Here's a series of pics from Nikko, which is a 400 year old temple complex in the mountains about 3 hours north of Tokyo. This is the location of the tombs of the first three Tokugawa shoguns .... Ieyasu, Hidetada, and Iemitsu. We were fortunate on both days at this place to get there before the tour buses started arriving, so we mostly had the place to ourselves.



Everything here was built by hand, carved by hand, painted by hand. The process for achieving the vibrancy of color seen here requires 32 coats, hand polished between each coat, starting with primers and ending with the final color.



Oh, and there's a lot of gold in use here too.



There's me at the tomb of Ieyasu himself. Had to take the picture myself because my wife and daughter weren't willing to make the climb to the top of the mountain.



When we came back out, the crowds were just starting to show. I was here once before, 13 years ago, and this is just the beginning. It gets uncomfortably crowded by lunch time.



These temples usually have gatehouses at the entrance with 'guard god' statues in them. Here's a couple nice ones.





Day 2 of Nikko temple-fest. Now we are at the temple for the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu.



Here's a closeup of that dragon above the door.



Turn around and look back at the gate.



And here's the end of the line. This is the gate to enter the tomb complex of the 2nd Tokugawa shogun, Hidetada. Unfortunately, this area is opened to the public only about once every 60 years. In 2000, I was very fortunate to be there when Hidetada's tomb was open, but now there's a locked iron gate blocking access (if I lowered my camera even slightly while taking this picture, you'd see it in the frame). If you're young, you may be able to see it too someday ... around 2060, I guess.



This was on the way back to the train station. Probably my favorite picture I've taken so far (of something besides family).



There's a lot more ... I've taken hundreds of pictures. But what's interesting for some is torture for others, so that's enough I guess. But, here's a teaser from our day-trip to Kamakura today.



And here's my wife and daughter checking out the view from our room. Across the bay there is 30 square miles or so of city. Amazing.




Oh, and I did acquire an AV Famicom and a Super Famicom Jr., both in the box. ;D They're both packed up in luggage that's being kept in storage until we fly home though, so pics will have to wait. The orange gamecube is still a possibility, but so far I haven't found one that is both complete and in good shape.

Well, we've got Disney coming up here for the next couple days. Don't know if I'll update again before I'm back home for good, but since I had this chance I thought someone might enjoy seeing some of this stuff.

Later!


Offline Grambo

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Re: Sayonara for a couple weeks. -- UPDATE!!
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2013, 06:51 PM »
Awesome pics, I'm very jealous :)
Glad to hear you found your consoles!

Offline dvd2vcd

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Re: Sayonara for a couple weeks. -- UPDATE!!
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2013, 10:01 PM »
that place is beautifull, i love historic places, and that shot from your room that looks over the complex is amazing :)
ED64 v2.5 - MEGAED X7 - TED v2.4 - SD2SNES rev F - EDN8 fami - EDGB X7 rev B

Offline Doom

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Re: Sayonara for a couple weeks. -- UPDATE!!
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2013, 02:25 AM »
Wow, no doubt you're having a great time. Beautiful pictures!

Offline Drakon

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Re: Sayonara for a couple weeks. -- UPDATE!!
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2013, 02:27 AM »
Asian historical places are always awesome.  I can't wait to visit Taiwan.

Offline Hanafuda

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Re: Sayonara for a couple weeks. -- UPDATE!!
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2013, 01:35 PM »
Ok, back to that big Buddha in Kamakura. First thing worth knowing about it ... it was made around 1252. :wow:



There have been several buildings built up around it to house it, but the last of those was destroyed by a tsunami in 1498. It has stood unsheltered for the last 500 years.

And for some reason, it has windows w/ shutters in its back. 




Even better, if you pay 20 yen (less than a quarter), you can go inside it.




The significance of this was lost on my daughter, but I was having a blast.




Last shot of the big guy, my attempt at a postcard shot ...




Finally, a couple shots taken while walking around outside our hotel in Odaiba.

Looks like something from a sci-fi movie ...




And here's the obligatory Statue of Liberty shot, with Rainbow Bridge and (far in the background) Tokyo Tower.




And a couple nights shots. These are not as good as I'd like ... I don't have a tripod with me and my camera is just a pocket digital. But they're ok, and the scenes are fantastic.





We just got back to the hotel from a long day checking out stuff here in Odaiba as well as Asakusa. I have some awesome pics of a "life size", i.e. 1:1 scale, RX78-II Gundam to share, as well as something that's somewhat on-topic for the site. I'll try to get those shots posted before we leave. Two more days before we fly home and get back to real life.  :-\

Offline Drakon

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Re: Sayonara for a couple weeks. -- UPDATE!!
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2013, 02:57 PM »


Blade Runner called they want their set back.  I'm curious, how good is your japanese?

Offline Hanafuda

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Re: Sayonara for a couple weeks. -- UPDATE!!
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2013, 06:06 PM »

Blade Runner called they want their set back.  I'm curious, how good is your japanese?

My Japanese is quite good I suppose, for someone who doesn't actually live here. But that only applies to the spoken language. I'm a functional illiterate when it comes to reading/writing ... maybe 2nd/3rd grade level.

Your Blade Runner reference is dead on. Actually, my wife is a big Gundam fan (she grew up as a kid here watching it), and she says Odaiba reminds her of "Side 7", the giant space colony that the main character in Gundam (Amuro Ray) is living in when the series begins.

Check this out:




And, speaking of Gundam ... even if you're not familiar with the show, this is incredible. A 1:1 scale Gundam mobile suit just standing outside a shopping mall. (There's a Gundam museum and gift shop inside too.)





The attention to detail and realism on this thing is stunning. There isn't a single spot on it that you could point to that would give it away as just a gigantic 1:1 model on display. It looked damned real.



Then we went for lunch. Kaiten-zushi ... the sushi travels around the restaurant on a conveyor belt, past all the customers' tables ... and when something goes by that you like, you just pick it up. Prices are determined by the color of the plate ... it all gets tallied up when you're done. The three of us got full on sushi for 3100 yen ... just over $30 US.




After shopping for the afternoon, we passed by the Gundam again, and it was nearing dusk. You can see lights in its eyes now. I was also extremely drunk when I took these photos, because we went to a place for dinner that had an "all you can drink, one hour for 1000 yen," special going on. I had 6 draft beers and 3 whiskies, neat. That was last night. I paid for it all day today.





But the show must go on. So, we went to Asakusa today. This neighborhood is the home of a famous temple called Sensou-ji, and is also home to Tokyo's 'show business' community. There are a lot of live stage act theaters in Asakusa, and a lot of the shops here cater to the needs of actors, comedians, geishas, and musicians.

This is the Kaminari-mon, the gate through which you begin the walk to the Sensou-ji temple.



Once you pass through the gate, you have to walk up this street of trinket vendors. They're selling keychains, t-shirts, snacks, cheap toys ... it's the ultimate tourist trap, especially for foreigners. If you're looking for that cliche "Mt. Fuji, Japan" t-shirt, this is where you should go.



Here's a shot with the roof of the main Sensou-ji temple building in the foreground, and the top of the Tokyo Skytree showing behind it. The Skytree is the second tallest structure in the world ... it's amazing they'd build something like that in the middle of an earthquake zone. There are more Skytree pics below.



Some koi swimming beneath an ancient bridge on the temple grounds.



People go inside the temple and pray to the little god seated way back there in that ornate display.



Fortunately, I was able to get a decent photo.



As I mentioned above, Asakusa is famous for specialty shops. Here's a shop that makes and sells traditional japanese umbrellas.



And if you need a hat, you'll never beat the selection of this store.



After walking our asses off all over Asakusa, we took a 'river bus' back to Odaiba. And Bonus! - We got a great view of the Skytree as we approached the dock.



Once our boat ride was underway, my wife unintentionally snapped this awesome shot of the Skytree reflected on the side of the Asahi Corporation headquarters. Asahi, if you didn't know, is one of Japan's main producers of alcoholic beverages, especially beer. The building is intended to look like a glass of beer with a head of foam. Pretty cool.



Looking back after passing the Asahi building, maybe you can see the 'glass of beer' thing a little better in this one. The weird golden sculpture next to the building is a mystery ... my wife told me that most Tokyo people call it the 'golden shit.' Seriously.



Boat took us right under Rainbow Bridge. It was great.



Then we hit yet another mega shopping mall, which is not how I'd choose to spend time here if it were up to me. (marriage  ::) ) But once again, Bonus! There was a retro arcade in there. Feel like playing some Vs. SMB????



Actually I did play it, and I sucked. Besides not being familiar with the differences between the Vs. and Famicom/NES versions, the big arcade joystick was horrendously awkward for a game where I'm really conditioned to using a d-pad.

Here's my daughter trying out some vintage pinball ... first time she's ever even seen a real pinball table. This is Gottleib's Surfer, circa 1976. Ironically, I was the same age she is now when this game was new. Man, it sucks getting old.



But, maybe pinball's not your thing. Maybe you'd rather play some Puck Man (i.e. Pac Man) on a cocktail table?



Or some Galaga ...



Or some Xevious ...



Since it was a retro arcade, the walls of the place were plastered with japanese idol posters, movie posters, teen magazines, etc. from the 70's and 80's.





There was no way of knowing for sure, but this Ultraman ride is probably from the late 60's. Still chugging along.




So, that's probably it from me until I'm back in my own hemisphere. We're going to Yokohama tomorrow to visit the Chinatown there, and the day after that will be our last. I'll start a new thread when I'm back to show off the old Nintendo junk I bought.

Good night from Tokyo.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2013, 06:16 PM by Hanafuda »

Offline RickyKustafason

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Re: Sayonara for a couple weeks. -- UPDATE!!
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2013, 07:37 PM »
Fun post, thanks for sharing it.  I really enjoyed seeing and reading about the pictures.  Sounds like an awesome vacation!

Offline Drakon

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Re: Sayonara for a couple weeks. -- UPDATE!!
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2013, 05:19 AM »
That arcade is too retro, needs more afterburner deluxe cabinets.