So today was the day we fly back to UK but, we still had a morning free before heading off to the airport - well, whole afternoon really but didn't want to join the rush hour trains carrying luggage...
These were the manned stations you have to go through instead of the regular gates if you want to use your JR Pass. Thing is, not all exits have these manned stations so you have to walk around a bit to find one sometimes.
Sometimes the staff will also be too busy speaking to someone so a lot of JR Pass holders just walk right through instead of waiting their turn to flash the pass.
Seems Mario is being used to introduce some facts about Japan on the trains.
So I decided to spend that time visiting Akihabara one more time before returning to import all my Japanese games and what not in the UK.
It was a nice sunny day and Akihabara was full of people as usual. In fact, it was quite hot at 25C...
Didn't get a chance to use these IC card lockers but from what I've seen on YouTube, they work like Amazon's storage lockers... Enter a PIN at the terminal and your locker opens.
Not quite sure what the Evangelion poster was about. Didn't really notice it until I looked back at this photo. Was in a hurry ^^;
Won't be seeing giant towering AniGame posters everywhere once I'm back in the UK. Unless the annual Scotland Loves Animation is going on...
On the left was another Maidreamin maid cafe. They had as many branch cafes around Akihabara as McDonalds did back in Scotland. Don't have to walk far before you see another one of them. Didn't have a very good experience when I visited during the night for my first visit to one =/
Then on the right was a poster for "Kokoro ga Sakebitagatte'ru n'da" AKA "Anthem of the Heart" which wasn't released on blu-ray yet on the day we arrived. Was now. Was waiting to watch it because it was from the same creator as AnoHana and I really enjoyed that show. The premise is very similar where troubled youths eventually open up to each other one after the other with a little bit of supernatural mixed in.
Wonder if AKB48 will end up in the opening ceremony for 2020 Olympics... I've heard a few of their songs but not many sound that appealing.
Now that I think about it, I didn't really explore the stores of Akihabara that much. I went into chain stores that sold games mainly. If I ever visit Japan again, I will have to leave a day out and explore the place and see if I can find any weird and wonderful hidden shops, lol.
After picking up a few more games, I wandered through the chain stores again. So many TCGs on Android these days although some people probably still prefer real cards like these.
Little cars for the kids to play on... Had a Shinkansen one, lol. You have to admit the Shinkansens do look cool though.
Didn't take too many pictures of merchandise this time round but, doesn't Gendou look happy in this Schick razor ad, lol.
Like I said, they're pretty much milking the franchise. Just re-using the same scenes over and over again. Only new stuff are really the Rebuild movies.
While rushing around looking at games again, I spotted a cafe with a picture of Mizuki Nana outside. Apparently she was going to meet her internet fans here after her Tokyo Dome gig. Quite like a lot of her songs.
Didn't stay too long before I headed back to the hotel in Kamata since I wanted to run through everything again before we left for the airport.
On my way back I decided to drop a local game store to see if they had any second hand copies of the first Youkai Watch game but, they didn't have any either. All the game stores seem to only have the Buster version of the game available which is more an ARPG than Pokemon style.
The store did have a lot of old cartridge games though. Funnily enough my old Game Boy still works complete with the giant magnifying glass accessory. It's quite amazing when you compare it to today's handheld consoles... Screen so small but didn't feel like it at the time!
They had old Super Famicom cartridges too. Just goes to show you don't have go all the way out to Akihabara or Nakano Broadway to buy retro stuff.
As I continued my way back I spotted a vending machine selling drinks for 100JPY or less. I actually just wanted a drink but then on closer look...
I realised it had Evangelion themed UCC Coffee with the pilots in traditional Japanese clothes. Still had some credit left on my Suica, enough for the train to Shinagawa Station and more so thought I'd buy one.
I liked Kamata out of the other places I stayed while in Japan. It felt very tranquil and peaceful.
Shopping lanes like this seem pretty common in Japan.
And your usual mix of high rise apartments and houses.
There's a lack of pavements in some areas too but not too many vehicles drive through.
Aaand this was the can I got. I would have kept it if I had time to clean and dry it since I'm a fan of Evangelion ^^;
Don't think it's the first time UCC Coffee collaborated with Gainax's Evangelion. This time was some promotion campaign for Hakone, a place popular for its hot springs south of Tokyo.
Kind of wanted to go there but when I saw the photos were mostly just volcanic, hot spring areas I decided not to go.
Also dropped by 7 Eleven for a conbini bentou. Was yummy!
Ended up buying two more "A" condition second hand games - Xenoblade for the New 3DS and Pokemon Y. I really enjoyed the original Wii version of Xenoblade but since I've sold my Wii and the games with it I thought it would be good to have. As for Pokemon, I haven't played a Pokemon game since Red and Blue so thought why not, lol.
Here is the wind chime I bought from Shirakawa. Have yet to come across the transparent glass kind during my time in Japan. Still, it made a nice sound... Now just where to hang it, lol.
Point of having a wind chime in Japan is whenever you hear the chime in the hot summer weather, you automatically think there's a cool breeze blowing and feel cooler. All about mental attitude really.
Flight was 7pm but we left at around 3pm because the N'EX itself was going to take 1 hour to get to the airport at least. Not to mention we had to get to Shinagawa first and avoid the rush hour which was around 5pm.
Going to miss all the vending machines selling hot drinks in the cold weather... And the variety they offered. Also conbini food, snacks and carrying an IC card around instead of loads of change.
They always have to make kids food cute like this happy face on the sandwich, lol.
Coca-Cola hiding their brand again =P
After we checked into Narita Airport we came by this Akihabara store.
I once heard a foreigner living in Japan say the Japanese people deliberately decorate their stores to fit the image of Japan people see on TV. Don't know if it's true or not but looked the part here. Kawagoe kind of felt like it was just putting up a front though.
Well, Akihabara had to have its own cute mascots. I think this was Fuujin "Goddess of the Winds". I jokingly called her Midori meaning "Green".
Since I couldn't think of a Japanese name that meant orange, I called her "Akane" the next common Japanese girls name I could think of =P
OK, she's actually Raijin "Goddess of Thunder".
They had Ghibli goods here too. Totoro dolls looked a bit off though...
Well, it was an interesting trip in Japan. Saw everything I've dreamed about from Japanese media so now I probably won't be reading blogs about Japan as much just to see more photos and feed my imagination of the country, lol. I've been and it lived up to most of the expectations I got from the media. It's not all good as with all things in real life but there's more good than bad.
Back home I will continue enjoying all things Japanese and remember what an awesome place Japan is just like the way I grew up thinking it was.
Hope you enjoyed my posts and if you're still dreaming of going like I did, I hope it's also motivated you to save up and make the trip ^^