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Photo TR: Zach's October with TPR in Japan!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:42 pm
by PKI Jizzman
Welcome to probably my biggest trip report yet!

When I first had the opportunity to consider the 2019 Japan trip it was nearly a full year before in October 2018. Let's take it probably 10 years further back, to 2008 when Tower of Terror at TDS was fresh. Robb and Elissa's trips to Japan with friends looked sublime and the whole country seemed so alluring and mysterious. The parks looked incredible as did the food, scenery, trains, and random excitement that comes with just being in Japan really piqued my interest. So when I saw Japan/October 2019 I told Elissa it's the easiest decision of my life :lol: Not only was it Japan with R&E, there was also going to be a lot of of USA 2018 trippers going as well!

Elissa and Robb did a ton of planning between October 2018 and October 2019. They really prepped us for pretty much everything! Helpful phrases, getting around, trains, hotels, and so much more all with the added complications of the Rugby Cup. Which, yeah, Japan was ALL about the Rugby Cup! They did a great job.

Anyways, as you saw from the updates in real time and in bert's excellent live report, we all had an incredible time.

Day 0/1
I'll dive right in! I flew out of Chicago October 5th at noon and was set to arrive in Tokyo NRT at 4pm the next day October 6th. I got a sweet start to the trip with an upgrade to business class so I arrived fresh, and we arrived early!

I had a different plan than the full TPR trip since I had never been to Japan before. I didn't do any of the Tokyo parks with the group and instead focused on exploring Tokyo itself. Staying in Shinjuku Sun-Weds morning. Getting in early set things up perfectly because I was able to meet up with Luke and go straight to Elissa to get my rail pass, which is the most important item I've ever come into contact with! That was all too easy - airport limousine bus to Shinagawa, hang out with friends, get rail pass & suica, then bounce up to Shinjuku.

Being solo the first few days I wanted to be prepared so I created an organized list of words/phrases for being out in the city, at restaurants, greetings/replies, and fun words. I think I did a great job trying to learn some Japanese. Shout out to Abroad in Japan podcast and other helpful youtube videos! I still have my document if anyone would like it, just DM me.

I stayed in Shinjuku right next to the busiest train station in the world; averaging 3.5 million people a day. It has over 200 entrance/exits and 53 platforms! Do not mess with Shinjuku station!

I immediately found my local gyoza izakaya (bar) next to my hotel - Ichigoro Shinjuku (西新宿 7 1 10 守矢ビル1F, 1, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan)

I spent the first full day exploring the West side of Tokyo and the middle: I started with a walk from Shinjuku to Meiji Jingu Shrine, Shibuya, Roppongi, Ginza, Tokyo Station, and Imperial Palace. Alex and I went around Harajuku at night and had an amazing improvised dinner at Soregashi (2 Chome-3-11 Ebisunishi, 渋谷区 Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0021, Japan) after the planned art/sake exhibit was closed and it started to rain. I wish I took pictures there! It was an incredible experience with help from our waiter who spoke a good amount of English.

Day 1 Japan surprises, learnings, and hilarity:

Walking at a normal pace in a pack of people down the sidewalk and the business men or women will just start sprinting full force to beat traffic lights or just get to where they need to go quicker :lol: In full suits/dress shoes! You never know when someone's GOTTA GO FAST

I got on the Hibiya train line and was immediately greeted to the sight of a woman with a giant bag of balloons. Thanks to learning some phrases and words I knew to say "Ohmadeto gozaimasu!" (Congratulations!!) and she laughed from the surprise of an American saying that so loud she apologized to the car (because everyone is polite and relatively quiet on the train) and thanked me a bunch before getting off the train :p

It is really easy to use Google maps to plan out where you want to go and how to do it, which is why I could walk around everywhere. Not once did I hit a dead end or get lost. Only Shinjuku station got me a little lost but it is the most populated station in the world (3.5 million people in and out daily I think).

I tried to win a little Tokyo Disney coin purse at a gachapon (coin toy capsule machine) but instead was first greeted by an older business man holding 2 gachapon capsules. He said "Look, same same." And then bowed and held out one and said "Special present." Clearly he had one the same prize and wanted to give the 2nd one away so I got a Lego-Gundam suit. Awesome! I thanked him a bunch.

More to come!

Check out TPR's Insta or mine @photoboothez for the collection of videos taken from the trip.
-Zach

Re: Photo TR: Zach's October with TPR in Japan!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:14 pm
by bert425
YAY !!

so happy to see you kicking this off. You did so many neat things before meeting up with the group - and even once with the group, y'all did some stuff different than others did (I'm sure our Disney experiences, while overlapping in some places? are gonna be VERY different in others).

can't wait to see more, as this is off to an amazing start.


(oh, and don't worry that you didn't get a pic of a dirty panties machine.. I actually did - tho it was more of a pic of the fetish shop. :) My next update this week at some point, will be mostly Shinjuku/Godzilla, so you'll see it, LOL).

Re: Photo TR: Zach's October with TPR in Japan!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:36 pm
by Canobie Coaster
Great report! While there are no coasters, Japan is such a fascinating country that I have no problem seeing a report on their culture.

Re: Photo TR: Zach's October with TPR in Japan!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:11 pm
by SharkTums
Great report...adding your gyoza place to my list for next time!

Re: Photo TR: Zach's October with TPR in Japan!

PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:24 pm
by PKI Jizzman
bert425 wrote:
(oh, and don't worry that you didn't get a pic of a dirty panties machine.. I actually did - tho it was more of a pic of the fetish shop. :) My next update this week at some point, will be mostly Shinjuku/Godzilla, so you'll see it, LOL).


Oh good to hear haha. I was too distracted just taking in my first hours of Tokyo to find them and I was a little intimidated being solo at night not wanting to accidentally go into a place I didn't want to go haha.

Canobie Coaster wrote:Great report! While there are no coasters, Japan is such a fascinating country that I have no problem seeing a report on their culture.

Thanks there will definitely be more of non park updates!

SharkTums wrote:Great report...adding your gyoza place to my list for next time!

Thanks! It's such a convenient spot and consistently delicious! I liked the boiled better than the pan fried ones.

Re: Photo TR: Zach's October with TPR in Japan!

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 5:43 am
by cfc
The gyoza place sounds great. I agree that Japan is still trying to work out the whole "craft beer" thing; that being said, I did enjoy touring and dining at the Sapporo brewery a few years back.

Re: Photo TR: Zach's October with TPR in Japan!

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:56 pm
by Jakizle
Great update of a first day in Tokyo! It's so amazing just exploring the streets and parks on foot (and train) and see what cool places you find. Also adding that gyoza place to my to do list!!!

Re: Photo TR: Zach's October with TPR in Japan!

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 3:12 pm
by prozach626
I've been looking forward to this. The cocoon building looks incredible. It's also surprising how many English translations are in foreign countries.

Re: Photo TR: Zach's October with TPR in Japan!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:39 pm
by PKI Jizzman
Thanks everyone! Let's continue with Day 2 Tuesday, October 8th. My last solo day!

Big fan of the hotel Mystays I was at in Shinjuku. Cheap, breakfast included, great bed and shower, and quiet even in Shinjuku! I got up and had another big day of exploration!

Nishi Shinjuku Hotel Mystays
Address: 7 Chome-14-14 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan

Since I spend the previous day in central and West part of Tokyo, I focused this day on more so on the East side. For this update I'll cover: Metropolitan building, Shinjuku Gyoen Park/Garden, Olympic Park area, Meiji Jingu Stadium (professional baseball for the Swallows) along with Akihabara, Asakusa (a-sok-suh, thank you Elissa!), Asahi and Nikka whiskey, Thunder Dolphin & Baack Daaann Coaster!

Quick notes and hilarity and learnings from day 2:
*Saying hello, good morning/how are you in Japanese to the many workers you see out in public is a great way to learn how greetings are exchanged and how they can vary. "Ohayo gozaimasu!" Put a smile on everyone's face and it helped me get more confident with just being out and about in the city.

->Asakusa was my favorite part of Tokyo. All of the bridges across the water ways, unique architecture, and areas to either embrace the touristy chaos (Nakamise Street & ancient Sensō-ji temple) or to just chill out by the Sumida river.

? I was in Akihabara going from store to store and went into what I thought was a 10+ level arcade. Immediately was hit by a cloud of smoke upon entering and I quickly realized it was like a casino. It took me a minute to figure out how to operate the motion-sensor door until I realized the image of the hand on the door was trying to show me how to "touch to open" where as I thought the sign was saying "DONT touch the door" :lol:

*Hangryness hit me all of a sudden so I needed to stop for lunch. This katsu spot looked amazing, but when I sat down I realized there was no english menu and google translate doesn't work very well. This amazing older Japanese women taking my order disappeared for a few minutes, and then I see a large 8th-grade-science-project-like-colorful-cardboard moving towards me. She brought in the picture menu which was probably used to be put outside because she was able to hide behind the entire thing as she shimmied it over. I thanked her over and over again and got delicious chicken katsu curry. :lover:

*Akihabra was playing a ton of No Doubt in Japanese. :lmao:

*Check the La Qua/Thunder Dolphin schedule and pick a day when it's open later in the evening. They sell an evening passport/unlimited ride wristband that's a great value vs just paying to ride TD a couple times.

*Thunder Dolphin was one of the few coasters in Japan where I could pick my seat. The first visit the place was deserted in the last 2 hours of operations so I rode the front, back, the ops were totally cool! They also let us pick when I returned with Allison and Alex on a return visit.

*There was a huge area cone'd off by police and a huge crowd gathering so I went to see what was up........
It was an electric scooter company like Lime (or any of the other electric scooters you see in big cities now) giving demos and business men and women were doing laps and looking so amazed at this new mode of transport :lol:

Locations:
AKin no Kura Jr. (Akihabara katsu curry) - Japan, 〒101-0021 Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Sotokanda, 1 Chome−18−18 6階 ・駅前プラザ Akihabara Daibiru Building

Nikka Whiskey Bar - Japan, 〒107-0062 Tokyo, Minato City, Minamiaoyama, 5 Chome−4−31 B1F ニッカウイスキー本社ビル

Asahi Beer Asakusa - 1 Chome-23-1 Azumabashi, Sumida City, Tokyo 130-0001, Japan

Let me know if you have any questions or want more info I'm happy to answer!


FUJI Q update is next!
-Zach

Re: Photo TR: Zach's October with TPR in Japan!

PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:18 pm
by bert425
this update was everything I was hoping it would be, Zach.

some really STUNNING pics you got over by the sky tree. . . if I'm back in Tokyo, that's absolutely on my list to do (the whole Asakusa & Akihabara areas, actually)

thanks for sharing these. . I knew you got some really fun stuff done during your "alone" days before we all met up. Great to see the full pic reports.