Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Summer vacation

Fashion's night out, posing with a Hilfiger model!
 I finally made it to Fashion's Night Out, the annual fashion event that goes on in major cities.  I went with my friend and we went into a bunch of stores, each one doing their own event.  We had complimentary champage and wine, and a dried fruits and nuts platter at Maison Martin Margiela, and we took a photo with this Tommy Hilfiger model.  We wanted to take a picture at Michael Kors because they had all sorts of fun props, but the line was too long.  There was a cool photoshoot contest going on at Omotesando Hills, but we got there just when it finished!!  It was super fun though, I'm definitely going to try to go again next year!
Wearing our yukatas on the train!
 After going to the beach at Zushi, we went back to my place and changed into our yukatas to go see some fireworks.  It was kind of hilarious, we had no idea how to put them on so we looked up a tutorial on youtube and our friends basically tied the obi for us, pausing every two seconds because it's really complicated! We had been drinking mojitos at the beach too, so were kind of tipsy already.  It's amazing that we managed to get those things on at all!
This soda is really gross!
 I walked past this soda being prominently displayed at the drugstore by my school for like a week before I finally decided I had to try it.  It was not good!  I thought that maybe by some magic chemical process coffee soda could taste good, but no.  It is so gross. I couldn't even finish it!
Tokyo bay fireworks!
 I went to see the fireworks at Tokyo bay too, with a couple friends.  I wore my yukata again so that was cool. The fireworks are great, but it's really crowded! We went to an izakaya afterward just so we wouldn't have to deal with the crowds on the trains.
Mt Takao beer garden!
 We climbed Mt Takao, which is a small mountain right outside Tokyo. It's a pretty easy climb, it only takes about an hour to the top, but we went in the afternoon so we were sweating buckets on the way up!  It was soooo hot!  Fortunately there is a beer garden at the top during the summer : )  So we went and had all you can drink and all you can eat for two hours at the top of a mountain!  You can take a cable car to the top, but you appreciate the beer garden way more if you hike it!
Hanging out on my friend's balcony with sparklers and a kiddie pool!
Then afterward we went to my friend's place who lives just a couple stops from Takao and we lit sparklers and wet our feet in a kiddie pool!  We tried to fill it all the way up, but without a hose it was really difficult. We were lugging a plastic drawer from his storage container from the bathtub to the balcony, and we gave up after like five extremely heavy runs. It was super fun though!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fujikyu part 2

Fuji Q
We were going to do a cat pose for Dodonpa, but as you can see it didn't quite work out as planned!  I look like I'm doing flamenco, and Lyndsey has some sort of crab pincer thing going on, lol.  Justin and Yuki got angry cat and cute cat poses down though, haha.  As a measure of how fast we are going, note that Lyndsey and I both normally have bangs!

Check that drop on Fujiyama!  I think it used to hold a world record, but it was beat.

This American dude was in the line for Takabisha.  Note how he's making the shape of the drop with his hand.
Then, this
Yes, American dude peed his pants.  No, I have no idea why he is American.  He showed up on the outside of the Takabisha line too, saying "Whaaat?  You're not going to riiiide?"  A bit cheeky of him to tease other people when he couldn't take the terror himself!

Haunted hospital
The outside of the haunted hospital was pretty cool.  Even though it wasn't as scary as it could have been, it was still really atmospheric and cool.  Every room (and there are a LOT of rooms, it's huge) is fully committed to the theme.  Apparently it's going to change soon into a prison break scenario though...
Evangelion world
There was some sort of theme walkthrough exhibition based on an anime that I saw in college that is really popular in Japan.  Here we are posing as Charlie's Angels at this cool lit up desk.

That middle red one is the one we couldn't ride because of maintenance
These are the four major coasters!  We couldn't do Eejanaika, but at least we did Takabisha twice.

Monday, June 4, 2012


I went to Fujikyu Highland today!  It's an amusement park located near Mt Fuji that's famous for its insane roller coasters.  It was super fun!

I rode this
Takabisha holds the world record for steepest drop!  We rode it twice.  It was our first ride of the day and also our last.  That huge drop comes in the middle of the ride, not at the beginning!  The beginning is pitch black, you can't see a thing and you're expecting to ride gently into the daylight and start the climb up that huge tower but no, you go suddenly into a drop and then a spin and then you're into the daylight, and you go through most of the coaster before you stop and go, at a 90 degree angle, up that tower.  The view is amazing but you're too busy being terrified to really appreciate it, haha.  Then you get to the top, slowly go over the hill... and stop.  You get a moment poised on the brink of the drop to appreciate the view and also anticipate the huge freefall before you, then you're off and it's amazing!

Official photo sent directly to my cellphone. Convenient (and cheaper)!
  Here's the official photo;  you can see us all looking down in anticipation.  We also rode Fujiyama which is super long and filled with steep hills, and Dodonpa which holds the record for fastest acceleration.  We rode Dodonpa late in the day and we were all exhausted (most of us had to get up around 5am in order to make it to the bus on time to get to the park right when it opened), but that coaster was a shot of adrenaline.  We were all wide awake after that, haha.
Unfortunately Eejanaika, the coaster with the record for most inversions (or used to be, I think it might have been beaten recently by Six Flags), was closed for maintenance so we couldn't ride it : (

Haunted hospital!
We also went through the longest haunted house (possibly in the world? maybe just Asia)!  It was themed as a haunted hospital, and it took almost an hour to go through the whole thing.  It starts off with a short movie to give the background (mental hospital where experiments were done and now vengeance must be wreaked), then you go into a room where you're told to sit on a bench and you get a briefing on all the things you shouldn't do (one of the things that is prohibited:  going in alone!), and then the bench suddenly drops and a burst of air hits you and the photo is taken!  I think I got the brunt of the air blast, my friend on the other end said he didn't feel much.  Then you get handed a flashlight (one single flashlight for our group of five) and off you go!  It's really long and there are a lot of stairs, it's kind of a workout lol.  We went through the whole thing in a close huddle/train, only separating when we needed to scream and run away from an unexpected actor.  It was really creepy and atmospheric, but there weren't a whole lot of actual scares.  The actors playing the ghosts were few and far between (although that definitely upped the scare factor when you actually saw one), and there were a few places that I felt were total missed opportunites, like a room where there were a whole bunch of sheets draped over who knows what, and a room filled with hanging burlap sacks, and one with a huge bloody bathtub, but nothing actually happened in those rooms.  There was one awesome part though;  about 70% of the way through you have to give up your flashlight, and then you go into this loooong hallway lit by candles.  You can hear footsteps behind you, but there's nothing there... until you hear them again and there's totally a guy there chasing you!  A couple guys chase you at the end too, to try to get you to run out of the exit.  While we were waiting in line we kept seeing people just sprinting out of the exit, it was kind of hilarious.

Our group
We got separated at the haunted house because some of us wanted food, some wanted to go straight there, and some didn't want to go, which is why we were a group of 5 at the haunted house, but then we got back together and this was our entire group.  It was a large outing!  We filled up the roller coasters, haha.

Anyway I have some more pictures and am waiting for friends to post more on facebook so I can steal them, but for now I need to get to bed.  I'm exhausted!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Last weekend

Last weekend was really nice!  I stayed in on Sunday and finally watched In the Mood for Love.  It's a Chinese film set in Hong Kong in the 1960's, and I enjoyed it although it went on a little too long.

Then afterward I went out for dinner with my friend Emma.  We walked around Shinjuku looking for a restaurant that was not our normal 270 yen izakaya, and we found a great Thai place!  We got a two person set that was like a sampler of a bunch of different things.  It was delicious~  I love Thai food!  It was nice to have some different things besides just tom yam soup and pad thai, which are what I always order at the Thai restaurant down the street from my work when I go there for lunch (cheap lunch specials!).

Then on Monday I went with my friend to see The Artist, the film that won best picture at the Oscars.  I thought it was in French, but actually it was in English!  I guess I should have realized it would be in English since it won the Oscar;  I don't think a French language film would be eligible, it would have to be best foreign film or something.  I really enjoyed it!  I wasn't sure how I would feel about it being a silent film, but actually it worked really well and there were some clever uses of sound as well as an incredibly dramatic orchestral score, haha.

After the movie we booked it to Shin-koenji for a takoyaki party!  My friend is living in a sharehouse there, and their kitchen is stocked with a takoyaki pan so of course we had to try it out.  Takoyaki is really simple to make, you just need batter, green onions, red ginger, and of course octopus!  The hard part is trying to flip the balls so they come out nice and round.  They weren't the prettiest takoyaki ever, but they tasted good!

Prep time!  

Our first batch!  Messy but delicious

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Osaka and Kyoto

Fushimi Inari in Kyoto!  The whole path is lined with these torii gates, it's really cool.  It's a long trail but we did the short version because it was starting to rain and we didn't want to get caught in it at the top of a mountain, lol

The sand garden at Ginkakuji.  Ginkakuji means 'silver temple' but it wasn't actually silver, just wooden.  Nice views though!


Kiyomizudera!  Kiyomizudera is one of Kyoto's most famous temples, and after going there I can see why, the views are amazing.  It was probably the coolest temple we went to in Kyoto


My new haircut that I got right before leaving for Osaka

Okonomiyaki with friends in Osaka.  Osaka is famous for okonomiyaki and  takoyaki

Osaka castle.  It was pretty cool, the inside is a museum and they had an awesome display of historical folding screens when we went. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Nature photos

Shinjuku gyoen

Camellias and cherry blossoms at Shinjuku gyoen

Sunset near the imperial gardens

Camellias at Shinjuku gyoen

Cherry blossoms along the moat by the imperial palace

Moat again

A swan chillin in the moat

He was a speedy swan

more moat cherry blossoms
Last Monday I went with some friends to a bunch of different places to get our cherry blossom fix.  It was a gorgeous day and the blossoms were in full bloom everywhere!  Sadly it was a very short season, and the cherry blossoms are gone now.  I'm glad I was able to see so many on such a nice day, though!

Monday, April 9, 2012


Kitanomaru park near the palace

Picnic at Kinuta park

Kinuta park

Cherry tree
It's cherry blossom time in Tokyo!  The trees were at full bloom this weekend and I took advantage of it to have a cherry blossom viewing birthday party picnic.  I had the picnic on Sunday but it was actually pretty chilly and windy... then today the weather was perfect!  It got into the 70s with just a light breeze, it was amazing!  So I went around with a couple friends and we went to a couple different parks to check out the cherry blossoms.  We went to Shinjuku Gyoen and then to Kitanomaru park, which is near the Imperial Palace so you can see the moat lined with cherry trees.  We wanted to go into the imperial gardens, but it turns out they're closed on Monday.  Still, it was a such a nice day!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Festival of the Steel Phallus

Went to the Kanamara Matsuri in Kawasaki on Sunday!  As the name suggests, it's a festival devoted to penis.  There was a parade and a shrine featuring all sorts of phallus-related goods.  There were a ton of people there, and I think half of them were foreigners, lol.  We kept running into fellow Aeon teachers, haha.  The train to get there was super crowded and I was initially worried I might miss the stop because I couldn't see the signs, but then I realized that I didn't need to look for the sign because I could just follow the wave of people getting off!  It was a pretty interesting experience.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Cherry blossom beer can!

Another cherry blossom beer can!  Actually every beer has a cherry blossom design now.  I love how Japan goes all out for the seasons.

More from Disney Sea!  Here's our official Indiana Jones picture. We were all supposed to do the peace sign but as you can see some didn't quite make it, haha.

My awesome orange trench coat that I bought last weekend!
Not a whole lot has been happening lately, but I did pick up an awesome trench coat and took some pictures of the seasonal beer can designs.  I only have pictures of two because I felt weird taking pictures of all of the cans in the supermarket, lol.  Seriously every single type now has a cherry blossom motif though.
Speaking of cherry blossoms, they should be blooming soon!  Normally they would be starting right around now, but because the winter has been so exceptionally cold they're arriving a bit late.  Which is fine with me because it means I can have a cherry blossom picnic birthday party!

Golden week is coming up really soon too, at the end of April!  I haven't decided exactly what I want to do yet, though.  The tentative plan is to go to the Kansai area with some friends;  we want to hit up Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara, and maybe Hiroshima if time/money allows.  I was thinking of maybe trying to squeeze in a trip to Korea to visit some of my friends there (and do some cheap shopping!), but I don't know if that will really be feasible.

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