Another clear day. Weather's been mostly great this trip just like last time. Only a day of rain so far.
I decided to go out and grab the rare Figma Pokemon Red figure for my friend in the morning because one I spotted in Lashinban, Culture Zone was already gone despite the £200 price tag.
Might be the last chance to grab the second one I found (it's not any cheaper).
They seemed to have setup some new promo art for mobile game Code Geass Lost Stories at Akiba Station today.
Of course you can have a 1.5 year anniversary in Japan...
Promo was all over the place. There was basically a gallery of either C.C. or Lelouch as you used the escalators.
That said, I'm quite a fan of the mind game, action show. Only watched the two seasons and the final movie though, not the spin-offs.
Chinese game, Reverse 1999 must have a long term lease for ad space here. Been there since the start of my trip. Seen a lot of promo for it on my phone.
Don't know if there's an Animal Crossing pachinko haha.
I had forgotten where the Akihabara X store I saw the figure at was unfortunately (there's two) but it's actually very close to the Electric City exit under the bridge.
While looking for it again and letting satnav guide me through random places, I ventured away from the central area of Akiba away from where all the Anime merch stores were and spotted a few sleazy venues not too far off on Showa-dori such as body massage with explicit photos right in front of the venues.
Well, back to Anime land.
Stores in Akiba are as bad as the sub-culture stores in HK. They don't open until 11 or noon so I decided to burn some time in Rajiokan until the store I was after was open. Even there only a few shops were open.
Saw this NN Drinks Steins;gate energy drink sign and thought they were being sold in the building's Family Mart but it was actually a vending machine outside.
Not one for energy drinks so didn't get one which came with a jelly banana sticker. Looked kind of dodgy too ^^;
Merch that caught my attention while browsing.
Didn't expect to find a GS Mikami figure but it's the DIY kind. Fun supernatural comedy show I used to watch in the evenings when I was with my relatives in HK. Didn't get to watch the whole series so glad it got a DVD re-release at some point so that I could.
Isekai Ojisan was a pretty fun show with a big tribute to Sega.
Nice to see a place, Yellow Submarine selling prize game figures for less than £15 compared to most of the other figure stores that do them for over £30. Not sure if they're the "unopened" kind of secondhand though because I never really paid attention.
Again, already blown my figurines budget so won't be buying more ^^;
Someone tells me that kind of pricing is pretty common outside Tokyo in other secondhand stores such as the chain Book-off but I'll have to confirm. Few I've been to had a very abysmal selection of figures. Lucky if there was more than a row of them on a shelf but who knows... You might end up spotting something pre-owned extra cheap there even then.
There's a Dollfie shop that had some dolls dressed up nicely as Anime characters.
They're around the same price as scale figures it seems but poseable. Spy x Family themed ones that were featured on the leaflet I got the other night was here.
Looks pretty cool in-the-flesh, better than on the leaflet.
And a warning about cults and people posing as police in casual wear in the building to scam personal information out of you... Surprised it's not in English really. Guess that's why they hunt outside in Akihabara.
Was an unsettling experience that night. So if you ever suddenly get approached by Japanese while in Akihabara who just seems to be making small talk, it might actually be a cult member.
Don't know the VTuber but she was doing a cover of Secret Base from AnoHana that caught my attention because it's got some touching lyrics. Ironically it was screening outside the big mutli-level sex toy store.
The Evangelion ad next to Rajiokan was there during my last trip 6 years ago. Not sure if it's just the same one xD
Saiyuki still a hit with the ladies.
Looking at this photo I think the left is a Goku fan while the right is a Gojo fan.
It's probably even more of a hit with the Sanrio collab.
You have to wonder if anyone has ever tried to nick the plushies sitting on the station gachapon machines.
Just because Japan has reportedly a low crime rate doesn't mean there's no crime as you'll know if you watch their local news.
Seems to be a lot of no live streaming signs but might be because of the recent notorious foreign streamers causing havoc like trying to get free bullet train rides and provoking the locals.
Now I've bought my figure, it was off to do my Anime location tour for the day.
Most of the Suzume no Tojimari spots were at Suidobashi Station but there were a few in between there and Ochanomizu Station so I decided to get off at Ochanomizu to walk there.
Ochanomizu station was a mess. There was only one exit due to the renovations that were going on so it was really packed despite being a weekday.
It's probably why you see a completed version of the station in the movie but in the real world, it's still under renovation at this point.
Quite a few tourists around the station and you can guess what they're here for. Interestingly enough the Your Name, Suga Shrine stairs are mostly Asian folk while here it was mostly Western.
I guess it's because the station name was romanised in the Suzume movie whereas people from Sino countries such as China and Korea can read Kanji.
There always seems to be train tracks in Shinkai's movies.
Someone asked if there was going to be some in Suzume too during a Q & A on Twitter X. Guess there's something about trains disappearing into tunnels like a warp to another world which kind of is.
Walking off to Suidobashi Station now.
You see Juntendo Hospital along the way which has its sign briefly showing in the movie.
Yet another tall narrow building. Tough finding space in the capital, huh?
You have to appreciate how much they manage to fit into that tiny space though if you've seen the insides of such buildings on YouTube.
It was a nice walk because there were some old bits of history on display along the road although the descriptions are Japanese only.
Here marks the spot of an old wooden water supply channel that provided water to Kanda and Nihombashi to the south back during the Edo era. This continued until the 34th Meiji Year, 1901.
There was a map of the water system too which is probably where Suzume was walking through.
Interesting structures when you reach Suidobashi.
Tokyo Dome in the distance where the baseball matches take place.
They're just constantly harping on about their American team player Shuhei on Japanese TV...
This should be the spot Suzume comes out of the water ducts. Looks more or less right if you added more greenery and a rusty stairway...
It's quite a quiet area where Suzume runs down from but no signs of Souta's home. Don't think anyone's recognised the place his apartment was modelled after.
Not far is the high school where Suzume runs down which they don't even parody the name of.
Then again, they don't really parody anything in the movies any more like McDonalds. Maybe because fans figure out where or what they are anyway.
Fair bit of yelling amongst the school boys here.
They must have some big lungs to hear them loudly outside the school building.
Nice clock outside Tokyo Dome. Was considering having lunch here but it was lunch time which meant crowds so thought I'd have something later instead.
Nyanko Sensei spotted.
Next up, off to Asakusa, Senso Temple for the Tengoku Daimakyo spots.
This was one of the spots I toured during my first trip to Japan so bit of a throwback seeing all the big red lanterns again.
First time I was in the info centre though. Not the exact angle but if you wanted the exact framing you'd probably have to stay in The Gate Hotel few blocks away or dine there if that's available.
It's an extremely popular spot with lots of tour groups walking around so no chance of clean shots, especially when it was the afternoon now.
That's why you see someone posing here, haha. Plenty of tourists wearing rented kiminos too.
Don't know how they came up with the idea of stuffing a pizza into a bun really but, it tasted as you'd expect; pizza in a roll.
Remember kids, don't be like the naughty dwarves from Snow White and dash out the train. You might knock over a witch or Snow White.
And that's it for the Anime spot touring for this trip.
Next I wanted to re-visit the Gegege no Kitaro Tea House in Chofu which was an hour's journey away.
Outside the station there were signs that weren't there the last time I visited, showing how Kitaro's character design and aesthetics changed through the years. Probably temp as a promo for the upcoming sequel movie.
I think this was the version of the show I watched.
The sun was setting as I walked to the new Kitaro Hiroba nearby which was 10 minutes away.
It's not bad for a kids playground. I climbed into the hut for a better look xD
There was a single person toilet and the men's side had no door so was quite hesitant at using it, haha...
There was a stamp rally where you can get a postcard or calendar but I didn't have the card for stamping with.
It was almost 4pm and the tea house closes by 5pm so wasn't sure I could still make it on time.
So I decided to grab a taxi back at the station instead of the bus.
First time I used a taxi in Japan was also in Chofu and got shouted at by the driver for trying to close the doors. They're completely driver controlled so never try to open or close them by yourself ^^;
You can pay cashless these days and I wanted to use my Suica but the driver wasn't familiar with how it was done. Ended up paying cash and then the option appeared on the touch screen, haha...
Still didn't make it in time to re-visit the gallery despite taking a taxi. Probably would have if I skipped the Hiroba but shop was still open.
I was after a Youkai guide book and a few of them were available. Flipped through them quickly and bought one that struck a good balance between art and text. There's a heavy edition which is chalk full of text so avoided that one.
Afterwards I took the bus back to the station and decided to hang around nearby til rush hour was over.
You now paid on entry instead of on exit unlike the last time I was here couple of years ago.
Christmas cakes were already up for pre-ordering as tradition goes in Japan.
While browsing about random stores I spotted another Kitaro statue next to a Family Mart.
Came by these Dragon Quest themed eye drops in a super market that came in a Slime-shaped bottle.
There was a Parco department store right outside the station so ended up browsing around in there for a while.
Not much caught my attention. The Christmas goods looked pretty nice and translucent bags for showing off your merch seems to be a thing. Some nice Pokemon themed coasters.
Ended up having some takoyaki while the stall was empty. By the time I had ordered something there was suddenly a huge queue... Maybe because people just got back from work for a takeout.
They actually tasted pretty salty. Different from the spring onion ones I first had in Japan. One thing for sure, they were freshly made and hot!
Afterwards I discovered the Parco had a Kitaro popup store. Most goods were available at the tea house.
Then I saw another Youkai guide book that they didn't have and it was the one that caught my eye while browsing online. Unlike the tea house, they didn't have sample books for browsing with sealed copies for purchase but oh well. It was in colour with brief text descriptions which was a really good balance so ended up buying another Youkai guide book.
Wanted a mini acrylic stand too but they were all sold out.
Well, back to the hotel for the night.
Felt like they renovated Chofu Station but maybe I didn't exit this way the last time.
Passed through Shinjuku Station which was busy as ever. Was going to do night versions of the Your Name, Weathering spots.
Fully illuminated with Yoyogi Tower in the distance.
Some kind of collab between Jujutsu Kaisen and a theme park. And not quite sure what the ladies would think if they got flowers from a vending machine...
Don't know why but it was still so busy despite being 9pm. Rush hour usually over by now on a weekday.
So, got the Figma Pokemon Red figure for a friend at a small fortune. At least it's an "unopened" pre-owned version. Also the two Kitaro Yokai guidebooks and the stamp rally card turned out to be available at the the tea house only.
Tonight's bento. Trying out some hyped "L. Lactis Strain Plasma" drink that claims to improve sleep and strengthens immune system that I've been seeing on Japanese TV too.
Well, need to think about picking up whatever else I might want tomorrow because not long til my return flight.