Today was a break day for us. Originally I never planned any rest days but my friend didn't want to travel to places every single day in case it was too much of a tow so, we did our separate things today.
Was probably a good idea since holidays was about relaxing and visiting places by the clock can be quite stressful. All that rushing around, trying to take everything in before heading to the next destination.
Funny coincidence but every time we were moving to a hotel or it was a chill day like this it would always be raining ^^;
Buuut, off to the conbini first to see if there were any interesting snacks. They had a lot of sugary or creamy bakery. Very few rolls you could have for a quick meal which was the opposite of Lawsons.
Don't have a Wii U so never played Splatoon but from what I've seen it seems to be quite a hit. Only game I want to play on the Wii U just now is Xenoblade Chronicles just now though so, need more games to tempt me before I'd buy one ^^;
Thought these were Maltesers but turned out to be cube shaped Kit Kat.
Kit Kat is successful in Japan thanks to students because they always give each other some during exam time. Kit Kat just happens to sound the same as "kitto katsu [definite prevail]" so it's a way of wishing each other good luck.
I arrived at the subway and noticed these women only carriages that I've heard so much about. There are debates as to whether they help prevent sexual harassment - it seems some women argue these only make matters worse because it's just setting the issue aside rather than addressing it.
Didn't really notice this before when we first arrived in Nagoya and I ended up queuing next to one because on one of the trains I was on before, there was also the same sign but men were on it too.
This time it was real and I got strange looks while standing there by mistake ^^;
Manaca, the preferred IC card around Nagoya. It has a big yellow ball mascot instead of a green penguin. I was tempted to get one just to collect them, lol.
So, since I haven't really explored Nagoya, our new base since we arrived yet, I thought I'd walk around the area.
For the morning, I decided to visit the local department stores because we hadn't really done any local shopping at all apart from buying souvenirs from the places we visited. Decided to drop into the big department store at the station, JR Takashimaya.
Being an avid video gamer I headed straight for the video games and toys floor, lol.
So many toys. Can't remember the last time I visited the toy section back in the UK.
A whole section dedicated to Monster Hunter goods. Capcom's franchise so popular it has its own section in the mainstream department stores.
I stopped playing the games after Tri on the Wii. When X "Generations" came out on the 3DS I gave the demo a try and ended up getting back into the game... for a while. Quite a lot of new mechanics such as jumping onto the monsters. Fun, lol.
Don't think I've seen a big shelf dedicated to stickers. Some naughty ones too =P
And pin badges too. Think I still see people decorating backpacks with these.
If you liked cute things and can't hold off from buying them you'd probably be broke at the end of the day. Sanrio cuteness overload... literally.
Minecraft has been quite a hit in Japan too. So much that SE had to create Dragon Quest Builders which is very similar to Minecraft...
Ghibli goods are never far away.
2000GBP for this Samurai "Kabuto" armour ornament set...
Nice little lit-up houses. In the West I would have found a section dedicated to oriental stuff instead =P
British stuff seem to popular here. There was an exhibition going on. I was tempted to go along for a laugh... British born visiting a British exhibit in a foreign country but decided not to. Had better ways to spend my day =P
Now this is how you make programming fun... Teaching programming with Manga. PHP books back in Scotland are just pages and pages of text. Oh, and some screenshots maybe.
Difference between book stores back in Scotland and ones here is there are so many cartoon characters everywhere. Doesn't matter which section you're in. Maybe it's because of the "kawaii" culture where they have to cutify everything...
Whereas in Scotland, UK you just see more creative real world photography used as covers and ads. Or just lots of sexual ones by the bus stop.
Ironically I found a foreign Anime/Manga magazine in the foreign prints section. Might be a way of local people learning English ^^;
Sometimes you have to wonder how prints like these survive in this internet age but, I suppose some people still prefer a hard copy than staring at a screen. You also need to know what you're looking for on the internet whereas with published works, the content has been filtered and pooled together for you.
Huge comic sections. Even in Waterstones there are only a few shelves dedicated to graphic novels/comics like Marvel back in the UK.
A lot of these looked quite interesting so I'll have to watch out for the Anime shows.
I grew up watching mainstream Anime that was edited and dubbed in Cantonese that my aunt sent me on VHS tapes. Didn't really get into the more niche shows like Fushigi Yuugi, Oh My Goddess or You're Under Arrest until later in high school.
Then as the fast internet access became more affordable, I had access to more content and it easily occupies a lot of my free time these days. Probably the same for a lot of people these days with video streaming services like Netflix or Crunchyroll, though ^^;
Even the greeting cards look so much more better and creative over here than back in Scotland.
Name stamps. Another thing that we could use back in Scotland. Instead of signing documents, Japanese have these name stamps that they can use to stamp documents.
Then again, managing all that paper would be quite hectic for the couriers delivering parcels. Still cool to have a name stamp.
Love Live seemed to have made it mainstream too. Don't have to find an Anime shop to buy the franchise. Heard the movie topped a lot of big name movies and reached number one in the box office charts when it came out. I've yet to watch the series though ^^;
There were also these multicoloured pens, giant rubbers (not sure how you're supposed to use them! maybe cut them up?), fun looking pencil boxes, fold-up punchers and fold-up rulers that doubles as a paper guillotine.
I had a multicoloured pen looong ago but these ones look a lot more robust - and classy.
There were light boxes on sale too... which reminds me of Shirobako. That was a great Anime. Could probably call it edutainment for insight into the Japanese Anime industry. I don't think you'll watch Anime the same way again after learning how much work goes into Anime and the hurdles that can appear.
These postcards should impress if you sent one back home although most are more like pop-up cards you stick inside an envelope ^^;
Paper crafts. Look so detailed! Chocolate almost looks edible!
BBC's new Sherlock series was being promoted here. A miniature of Sherlock's holme. Did I say, "Holme"...?
These face masks were just creepy...
Really creepy. Just look at how Chopper's face stretches out, lol. Think they're the best way to scare someone on Halloween xD
They're really pushing this British Week exhibition.
I decided to drop into Sofmap to see if there were any of the games I wanted there. Save me hunting for them in Akihabara once I was back in Tokyo later - didn't want to waste more time comparing prices.
Sofmap and Bic Cameras are run by the same people. Kind of like Dixons and PC World back in UK at least... when they still existed.
Sneaky company tactics, eh?
Areas dedicated to Gachapons are a common sight. You see a few in the UK but I don't think they'll ever catch up... Maybe because they're considered cheap and small parts hazardous to children.
There were signs suggesting Gatchapons as souvenirs. Not a bad idea =P
Long awaited Final Fantasy XV finally got a release date. Social networks probably went crazy, lol.
Anime themed batteries. Must make everything appealing to the kids and Anime fans ^^;
Flat umbrellas... Wasn't sure about buying umbrellas from an electronics store but, these generic brand ones seem to be everywhere. They were foldable and flat. Kind of wanted one. Either that or I can pick up the 100JPY transparent umbrellas that lot of people use ^^;
After picking up my games it was off for lunch before I headed to the rail museum.
I read a lot about eat out places that had ticket machines. This was the first place I had come across with one. Actually didn't know it used tickets. Was just hungry and wanted something for lunch then I went inside and whey! A ticket machine!
This was where those 100 Yen coins I'd been saving for laundries and vending machines came in handy.
So instead of waiting to be served, all you do is insert money and then press the buttons to buy the tickets you need for your food. Next, go find a table, sit down and hand over a ticket. Food is then brought to you.
They seemed to cater to tourists too with the numbered choices and photos.
Being socially-anxious, it can be quite nerve racking for me to be signal or call out to waiters/waitresses so I liked this way of ordering. Minimal social interaction ^^;
This particular place allowed you to have as much rice as you wanted if you bought a set meal. I wasn't a big eater though.
Hamburger set I had was nice. There was also some cold tea... Tasted like sesame seed oil and water mixed together...?
SCMAGLEV Railway Park
It was back to Nagoya Station to take the train to Kinjofuto.
Some more manhole pics.
Not sure if this is Nagoya's mascot.
Even the fire hydrant covers have detailed designs on them.
Green phones. Signature items from Japanese fiction.
I had to take a local train to Kinjofuto first (not these bullet trains!) which was about a 30 mins ride. Shinkansens were parked at the station while I was waiting. Looks amazing, eh? ^^
Kinjofuto felt like a developing area because hardly anyone was on the train! In fact, it was completely empty when I was on. Very rare for a train in the urban area. Area was quite barren too, mostly warehouses.
Wanted to see all the different Japanese trains but with the limited time we had I didn't want to sit at a station all day train spotting.
From the photos I saw online, I was expecting a place similar to the railway museum in Glasgow.
As soon as you enter the museum there was a giant video display and 3 trains to greet you.
One of them was an early maglev (levitates on magnets) train that held the world record of 581km/h back in 2003. Think it's China that holds the record today for maglevs but Japan will probably catch up again.
Some cute little models of the festivals that take place around Nagoya I think.
There were a lot more trains once you pass through the first area. Wasn't all just Shinkansen Bullet Trains of course.
Some train components were on display separately and there were interactive controls you could play with.
You'd probably be thinking Harry Potter (or Back to the Future III?) looking at these old steam trains unless you watch a lot of movies set in the same era such as Westerns.
Imagine how everyone had to shut the windows whenever the these trains were going through tunnels or all the soot ends up going into the carriages, covering everyone in black.
Not to mention the health hazards of the soot getting into the lungs.
And then onto electric trains. Cleaner... at least for the passengers. Not sure if the the power they consume still produce as much pollution.
One of these carriages looked like they came out of a sci-fi steam punk movie ^^;
You could go into the trains but weren't allowed to try out the seats. These were pretty much the the modern day layouts.
Then there were the older, more nostalgic carriages which are probably still used in third world countries.
Guessing these were the more luxurious trains that had catering and a dining area.
Some old telegram equipment.
Then there was a room with a huge diorama. Very impressive! It was so big with so many things moving once it was powered on! Hot air balloons, cars and of course - trains!
Most visitors were Japanese but there were a lot of Chinese and Hong Kong people too.
Scotland can be quite passionate about trains too so they probably have some amazing dioramas too. I remember I saw ones that had actual smoke coming out of their old train models once. Someone had to put in a little bit of burning ash into its funnel.
They were that detailed.
And what about earthquakes? They had demos of how the bullet trains still run smoothly when the ground is shifting. There were also train simulators that were used to train drivers you could experience yourself at extra cost.
The place offered partial English translations. Even when I entered I was offered an English leaflet when they heard my foreign accent ^^;
The N700 was pretty much the latest model that we've been riding on since we moved base to Nagoya.
Well, I got to the museum quite late so it was soon closing time. Time to leave.
There were more trains here than the transport museum I visited years ago in Glasgow. More variety too but the old streets area they had was quite distinctive for capturing the streets of old Scotland.
Shinkansen chopsticks, haha. Right, back to modern day Japan.
On the way back to the hotel, I decided to visit the Oasis 21 shopping centre again. Last time I was there we only popped into the Ghibli shop but didn't checkout the other shops there.
The place was famous for the "flying saucer" roof that was filled with water which you can just make out here. Clock was interesting. Not so impressed with the dinosaurs though ^^;
Three different kinds of numerals on the clock - numeric, Kanji (or should I say Sino?) and words.
JTB was the place we ordered our rail pass and Ghibli Museum tickets from. They have a branch in London.
Didn't know Yahoo! did mobile phone stores...
Jump Store! Enjoy quite a few of their shows. More recent ones would be Assassination Classroom and Tokyo Ghoul. Dragon Ball was a childhood favourite so I popped in to see what they sold.
This shop was just as amazing as the Ghibli shop nearby because it had such a huge variety of goods...
And giant sculptures of Jump characters.
Had to chuckle at the bin with Freeza's face on it. Freeza seems to be a joke these days in the new remakes of Dragonball... literally. Even in the Revenge of Freeza movie, haha. Seriously, Gold Freeza? xD
I didn't really see anything I want though - at least stuff I won't grow out of and throw away in the future. I could have bought some of the ornaments but I wasn't a big fan of Naruto ^^;
After leaving the shop I passed this recruitment ad poster outside McDonalds. Too bad but fries with chocolate sauce promotion was over.
They actually have an Anime short for recruiting people which is quite good.
Chinese food restaurant looked so... stereotyped. If you go to Hong Kong, you do not see places decorated like this. Maybe back in the UK.
Foreign food restaurants always have to have that stereotyped image to market themselves it seems. Then again, if Japanese restaurants didn't fit my image of Japan, I probably would be less inclined to go in ^^;
And up on the "flying saucer roof" with the Nagoya TV Tower nearby.
The second floor had a garden which seemed to be a popular dating spot at this time of night.
Since I had the time I decided I'd do some night photography. Didn't have my DSLR but I did have my Canon GX7 with me that had manual controls. And my Gorillapod.
The saucer would light up purple every now and then, while the tower had a yellow light travelling up and down it.
Don't think it looked that great lit up purple, tbh ^^;
Finished the day by dropping into another Lawsons conbini. They seem to be more common than 7 Eleven.
Orange Cola... Japan only.
Ended up getting a green apple beer and some yakisoba. Oh, and a salted butter roll for the next morning because it was going to be an early start, earlier than usual.
If you ever buy bentous or hot food at conbinis they'd usually ask if you want the food heated up. I just said no and took it back to the hotel instead.
Both the green apple beer and yakisoba was nice ^^
Bought snacks too. Always like Japanese packaging - efficient and very nice looking.
Tried the cubed Kit Kats and they tasted kind of like the big chunky versions that had thicker layers of chocolate.
Picked up brand new copies of Star Ocean 5 and Summon Night 6. Probably would have been cheaper waiting for the localised copy of SO5 but, didn't know when that will be done.
Not a big fan of the Star Ocean games because I didn't like the prequels but, need something to play on my PS4 until new games are out, lol. That and I wasn't too impressed with Tri-Ace's last game Exist Archive.
Summon Night I enjoyed on the Gameboy Advance so I kind of looked forward to this new game. Character art still sucks though =P