Ghibli Museum

February 27th, 2009 Posted in Tokyo, Travel | No Comments »

One place on our list of places to visit since before we came to Japan was the Studio Ghibli Museum. Now that our time is starting to wear down, it is becoming more important that we visit the spots sooner rather than later. So, just about two weeks ago Aaron and I hopped on the shinkansen (oh, shinkansen, how I will miss you) and made our way up to Tokyo.

We were only spending one night, two days and we wanted to make the most of our time. We splurged on a nice place in Shinjuku, a very central area of Tokyo. We bought advance tickets to Cirque de Soleil (more on that another day) and to the musuem. Actually, you have to buy tickets in advance for the museum because they regulate the number of visitors each day and during each time slot to ensure the enjoyment of each visitor. If the place was too crowded it would be unmanageable and a lot less fun.

The entire museum is dedicated to the work and art of our favorite Japanese animator, Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki is notorious around Japan for the films he has made. The intended audience of his films varies from small children through adults, and the stories are well-crafted enough that almost anybody can enjoy them. One of my personal favorites, and perhaps the most popular in Japan, is “My Neighbor Totoro.” So, I couldn’t help but get my picture taken next to the giant Totoro at the museum.

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Insiders Look Into An Onsen

July 31st, 2008 Posted in Daily Living, Tokyo, Travel | 1 Comment »

We always are mentioning onsen around here (in Tokyo and at Oku-Hida) and we have tried our best to explain the concept. But, it is a bit difficult for most foreigners to wrap their heads around it. You simply have to come to Japan sometime and see for yourself, the Japanese really are on to something with the whole onsen idea.

To help you understand a little bit more, we decided to sneak a few pictures when we were on our anniversary get-away. Now, don’t get too excited, there aren’t any people in any of the pictures you are about to see. We took pictures of our private onsen in order to show you how the whole onsen process goes.

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Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building

May 26th, 2008 Posted in Tokyo, Travel | 2 Comments »

Government Building

Another stop on our travels in Tokyo, which I haven’t yet told you about, was a trip up to the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. There are many tall buildings in Tokyo where you can go up to the top and get a view of the city beyond, the Government Building, however, is one of only a few where you can go up at night, for free!

The night we went wasn’t a very clear night. It was pretty hazy and foggy, though I suspect that truly clear days (with all the pollution and smog) are pretty hard to come by. Even though it was pretty hazy, it was still a fun time. It was cool to see the city all lit up and continuing as far as the eye could see.

View of Tokyo

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May 19th, 2008 Posted in Tokyo | No Comments »

Marching Boys are so dreamy

So, another one of the places we went on this trip to Tokyo, was Akihabara. Akihabara, for those of you that don’t know, is Tokyo’s “Electric Town” if it runs on electricity, chances are you can buy it there. Need a washing machine, no problem. A chip for your circa 1975 computer, sure! Vacuum tubes? You have at least two stores catering just to you. However, Akihabara is also the center of the worlds “otaku” culture. You can get anything you want connected to anime, manga, figurines, models (the plastic kind, not the people kind… who might also be plastic), etc. As a long time fan of manga and anime it has been something of a sacred pilgrimage.

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Imperial Palace

May 19th, 2008 Posted in Tokyo, Travel | 3 Comments »

Garden Pond

Another stop on our weekend tour of Tokyo was the Imperial Palace, home to the emperor of Japan. Getting a tour of the actual palace takes quite a bit of doing, so we settled for touring the gardens. A big bonus about visiting the East Gardens, it is free! And free things to do in Tokyo are a bit hard to come by.

Pink Blooms

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A Swan Boat Built for Two

May 15th, 2008 Posted in Just for Fun, Tokyo, Travel | 2 Comments »

Together in the Boat

While in Tokyo we did any number of silly things, but this perhaps was the silliest.

We rented a swan-shaped paddle boat and coasted around the pond in Ueno park. It was fun though, and good people watching too!

Boat Prices

Of course we splurged, paying the higher price for the swan than for the regular paddle boat or the oar boat. I mean, this may be our only chance to ride in a swan, it would have been so sad to pass it up.

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Hashi Shop

May 12th, 2008 Posted in Tokyo, Travel | No Comments »

Last weekend we went to Tokyo for four days. It was Golden Week in Japan (a string of four national holidays in a row) so we had a little extra time off to travel around and play. Aaron planned a trip for the two of us, in honor of my birthday. We decided to take our time in Tokyo a bit slower this time and spent most of the four days going to different neighborhoods and then walking around them and exploring.

One neighborhood that was high on our list was Ginza. Ginza is a shopping mecca in Tokyo, it is one of the most expensive and classy neighborhoods in the whole country and it was definitely a sight to be seen. After coming from Chicago, home of the infamous Magnificent Mile, I was doubtful that I would find somewhere more glittery and shiny and busy and consumery, but there it was, right there in Ginza.

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Pubs in Japan (Sapporo, Osaka, Tokyo)

February 25th, 2008 Posted in Food, Osaka, Sapporo, Tokyo, Travel | No Comments »

Beer taps

So I was supposed to write a post about Popeye’s in tokyo, way back when and it kind of sat in my writing queue forever. I had started a couple of times and it just wasn’t flowing. Then I decided to revive that post with some information about a couple of pubs we visited in Osaka, but this also did not flow. I will give it one more try with some company from the Sapporo brewery.

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November 19th, 2007 Posted in Tokyo, Travel | No Comments »

The Strange Gang

Each Sunday, in the Harajuku area of Tokyo, there is a gathering, of sorts, for all varieties of subcultures. It is mostly teenagers who gather, dressed up and made up, in a variety of costumes near Harajuku station. They are there to spend time with their friends, ham it up for the crowd, and have their pictures taken.

It was interesting to see so many people there watching and looking, and so many people gathered to dress up and have a good time. It is nice to know that these kids, even if it is just once a week, have a place where they can fit in and feel good about themselves.

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First Hostel Experience

November 16th, 2007 Posted in Tokyo, Travel | No Comments »

Since we want to spend a lot more time travelling than we ever did at home, we are forced to do some things a little more cheaply than we had to before. As a result, we have decided to try and cut the costs of accommodations for some of our trips by staying in hostels. My first hostel experience came on our weekend to Tokyo.

During our long weekend in Tokyo we stayed at the Sakura Hostel in Asakusa. I can definitely say that Sakura Hostel gives hostels a good name, and it was a great first experience.

Sakura Outside

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