Right so this is probably going to be a bit of a short post really.
New Years Eve was spent with Peter (Zenny From HF And MU) and his son. They took me to a nice Japanese restaurant and had Hot Pots – very tasty and the first time I’ve had one of those – so new experiences all through the day with the massing hordes of Comiket as well.
After food Peter’s son left us, and he took me around Kichijoji to see people getting ready for the celebration of New Years, which was very interesting as everywhere is dead quiet until about 11:30 then people just appear from no where. In the walk around I got shown a Zen Buddhist shrine and a Shinto shrine, though we were too early to stay there to celebrate New Years really just walking around the temple at night was nice.
After walking around we went to an English Themed sports bar which was amazingly good better than anything we actually have in England, serving proper cask ales and none of this larger that seems to be all the fad. They also do the best fish and chips that I’ve ever tasted outside of the UK with the batter used being a light beer one and the chips being really crispy on the outside and nice and fluffy in the middle.
New years was actually celebrated 10 minute early in the bar at least by my clock and Peter’s watch, however there was a great cheer when their count down finished and instead of the UK tradition of singing Auld Lang Syne they put on the Thunderbirds theme remix from a few years back which made a novel and enjoyable change watching people do impressions of puppets dancing.
After leaving there we headed back for Kichijoji station where there was a big countdown clock that got the time right and we watched that countdown again to New Years, said happy new year to each other and headed back to our place of rest. And its just as well that I left Kichijoji then as I got the last train and subway train to Yotsuya-sanchrome.
So not quite the New Years Eve I’d wanted but a very enjoyable one neither the less and one for the memories rather than photographs cause I didn’t take my camera with me as I figured I could do the shrine photos during the day.
New Years Day and I headed back to Kichijoji for my shrine visits, though first stop was the Games Workshop store as Peter wanted to introduce me to the store owner as I come from the UK. And honestly the store in Kichijoji is about 6 meters long by 3 meters wide but better stocked than any of the super sized stores I’ve ever been to in the UK.
In that store I’ve seen kits that I know we can’t even get in the UK, half tempted to pick one of them up to do a diorama with though that will have to wait to see what spending money I have left after the day trips out and about.
Following on from the Games Workshop store we headed to first a Zen Buddhist shrine which was phenomenally peaceful despite being right next door to a major shopping district. There I saw people playing traditional Japanese badminton and with spinning tops, as well as lighting incense.
Next up was my trip to the local Shinto shrine which was fantastic and because it wasn’t in Tokyo proper was a lot quieter though the que to do your New Years Pray was massive it was only 2-3 people abreast which let me walk around the rest of the shrine without disturbing people queuing to do their pray. I picked up a lucky arrow while I was there and had 2 fortune slips – one of which was not so good fortune so got tied to the area where they were meant to be put and one apparently really good fortune which I’ve kept and will translate when I get back home, as I’d love to know exactly what it say’s.
The first shrine visits done, we went walking around Kichijoji in a ambling manor, went into a book store which had very very little in the way of any books but lots of other really fun items including a Nausicaä plant pot, which just amused me no end, for no real reason either.
Following on from that I was taken to a import food store, which handed out free coffee – and everyone knows me and coffee. Though it was milky and had sugar in it was really really nice coffee, while I was there though I got ammused by a bottle of apple juice because of its shape so I brought a bottle and a bag of berry crunch muesli for snacking on at the hotel since I love the stuff dry and its healthy.
After the imported food store we headed for 2 more shrines in the park one really small one which I had to walk crouched to even get to and one set into one of the lakes which was also really busy. Photos of the one in the lake were taken but even the hood on the camera lens couldn’t stop the sun light bleaching a lot of the photos, though its warm here for a UK winter its still obviously winter as the sun is so low during the day. I did manage to get some good shots though.
Finished in Kichijoji for the day we went to meet Peters son in a 7-11 in Musashi-sakai, which is one of the best department stores I’ve ever been in, it had a candyfloss machine next to arcade machines!
For food we went to a restaurant in the basement where I had a rice dish with a black miso and sake sauce (yummy) and an Udon noodle curry (also very yummy) with pickles (yummy yummy) and bottomless chilled peach tea which is nice and refreshing and cleanses the pallet nicely. Total for the two of us for a set lunch including a beer for Peter was 2600 yen.
After a brief visit to Peters apartment I headed back to the hotel to drop the arrow and fortune slip off, though by that time my knee was starting to hurt a little so decided to take a bath to sooth it and promptly fell asleep in it. So sorry Andy and Kate I didn’t make it to the Pokemon centre for you.
Having woken up at 6pm I decided to head to Akiba to try and find a maid cafe for my birthday, and though I found both of the Maidreamin ones they were both shut all day and only one of the @home ones was open and by the time that I got there they were closing up anyway – however they were very nice and told me where English speaking maids were going to be for the next 2 days and the opening times so that I can visit. Unfortunately that does mean that I’m not going to be able to celebrate my birthday with them as I’m heading off to HLJ on the 2nd and won’t be back in time for them to still be open but at least even if I’ve not been in one as of yet I can say I went to a maid cafe on my birthday.
After a bit of a disappointment there and I can honestly say I was a little gutted, I spent some time in a very quite Akiba there was next to no one around, but that’s not really surprising as it was New Years Day and everything has limited opening hours.
After Akiba I was starting to get a little tired so headed back to the hotel for sleep since the trip to HLJ is going to be one long day.