sábado, 3 de março de 2012

Land of the Rising Sun - Tokyo 2

Note: I started writing this around last Summer's July, and I almost finished it, but then my one-man Eurotrip started, so I got kinda busy. Then MY LAPTOP WAS STOLEN BY A GODDAM JUNKIE! That made it a bit complicated to keep blogging. Then I was given a new laptop, but with the most of my pictures gone (not to mention a certain degree of lazyness), I kinda lost the heart to do it. Nevertheless, I hate to leave something unfinished, almost as much AS I HATE THE GODDAM JUNKIE WHO STOLE MY LAPTOP! And so, after the short time of one year and a half, here it is:

  Basically, for the next day we just walked around Tokyo, exploring the city. Its contrast with Beijing is quite stark. The people on the streets almost always keep to themselves, they never bump into you, never spit on the floor, the streets are always clean, and when when you buy something in a shop they always say thank you in a way that sounds like they're making a really long prayer. The food tends to be infinitely both more healthy and expensive.
    The day we arrived at the hostel, we still had some time, so we spent the afternoon visiting one of Japan's most internationally known aspects: the otaku culture (things to do with anime, manga and video game fandom).

We walked into an 8-story shop, which had everything from action figures, video games, cds, and books. Then we passed by the sega building, responsible for me wasting many hours as a youth playing Sonic the hedgehog.

The streets of Tokyo at night are quite nice to look at, but sadly this time around I didn't have time to really go out drinking and clubbing (the only place I did go out at night in my trip was Seul).

  The next day we saw the east imperial garden, but we didn't go to the palace, because unlike a certain neighbouring country, Japan still has a living, breathing emperor, so getting there is kinda tricky.

We also saw Tokyo tower, but no rampaging monster who looks suspiciously like a man in a suit... I felt so cheated!

Not pictured: GOJIRA!!!
  The third day we went to a park (called Ueno, I think) and we found... snow. Wonderful snow, which along with the cold and the wind made me catch a cold. But it was still the first snow I saw in an urban environment in years (Beijing's dry year was disappointing), which made it cool.


   A part of the park is dedicated to the Satsuma rebellion, between the now disbanded samurai and the new at the time Meiji government. It's what inspired the movie The Last Samurai.

The real life inspiration for Ken Watanabe's character.
(Thankfully) not pictured: Tom Cruise

Afterwards, we went to Tokyo's national museum.

Next day, we did some more exploring around the streets of Tokyo.

We passed by Hachiko's statue. Hachiko has the most touching real life story about a dog you will ever hear: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hachik%C5%8D

It made me sad, too. 

We went to a Disney store:


And the Tower Records, a giant, 7-story cd store:

And another park whose name eludes me:


Finally, at night, we went to a very strange, very interesting, a bit disconcerting, very unique place:
     It's basically the concept of transplanting the cheerful maids you see in anime into real life. When you get there, the maids basically treat you like you're back in kindergarten as a todler and they're your supervisors. They sang happy songs, and asked us to sing along. Songs with lyrics like: "Moe moe moe, moe moe moe. Moe moe moe, moe moe moe..."(Moe means "cute"). They didn't allow pictures being taken, except one at the end that you could pay for.

The next day, I left the rest of the group to alone go to Kyoto, Tokushima, Osaka and Seul, whereas they stayed in Tokyo for a couple of days more. But this would not be the last adventure of the Tokyo Tuga Team. For we would travel together again to the great land of Russia (great in the sense that it's HUGE), with a new team member: Ana, the... umm... blonde.

Everybody hates Telmo.
And it would be in Moscow that MY LAPTOP WAS STOLEN BY A GODDAM JUNKIE!!! But that's another story... that hopefully I won't wait one year and and a half to tell.

Since I still have loads of stuff from last year that I would like to post about, but I might feel like writting about current stuff, this blog is going to get a bit anachronical... just like Pulp Fiction! And Lost! With no polar bears or guns coming out of anywhere to boot! So stay tuned.

sexta-feira, 2 de março de 2012

Back in Beijing!

Okay, then. Now I'm back in Beijing, and if my internship doesn't leave me completely without free time, I hope to update more often. And updating more often than never isn't too hard...