Monday, September 10, 2012

August Sum Up

Wow, for shame--it's been nearly a month since I updated this blog even though a TON of things happened since August 7th.

1. Comiket Summer 2012
2. My birthday
3. My dad visiting--which probably deserves a post in and of itself, considering all the places we went to.
4. Fireworks

But, first things first, after our trip to Nikko, I needed a two day rest just to get rid of the swelling in my feet.

Soon after, though, a group of us went on to conquer the 2012 Summer Comiket.

That, in and of itself, was an incredible challenge, especially for the claustrophobic. Comiket took place at Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba and, even with the huge convention center, everyone and everything were jam packed into this gigantic comic and cosplay fest.

This was also my first visit to Odaiba, and I was incredibly excited to see the life-sized Gundam that so many celebrity personalities I follow had been to along with Rainbow Bridge, which lit up beautifully at night.

I was also lucky to celebrate my birthday by starting the day with cake and then going to Kushiya Monogatari in Shinjuku. Why is Kushiya so great? Because it combines all of my favorite things:

Fried food + meat + seafood + desserts.

Everything on Kushiya had already been skewered, so all we needed to do was dip it in the breading and stick it in the deep fryer.

Needless to say, it was delicious, although the buffet also ended up, regrettably, being a competition for who would eat the most skewers, which left me thinking about how undelicious everything was if it came back up.......

The next major event was my dad's first time in Japan. With only a week, I couldn't take him to further places, like Kyoto, so we primarily explored Tokyo, Misato and then made a day trip out to Nikko. The visit was off to a pretty tough start though. UA78 was delayed at least 4 hours due to storms close to Hong Kong.

My dad was surprisingly resilient and actually came out of customs with a smiling face. I know I definitely would have disembarked looking ready to punch some UA if I was delayed for that long (laugh).

The original plan was to take my dad to experience Japanese conveyor belt sushi, but with the unexpected delay, I figured it'd be safer if we grabbed a meal of soba at the airport before heading home.

Over the next few days, we visited several major tourist spots in Tokyo, including Asakusa, the Imperial Gardens, and Tsukiji. There were some places that I had never visited before either, so it was fun revisiting old favorites while exploring new ones.

As you can see, my dad really liked Tokyo Sky Tree, haha.

We also went to Nikko, which I had in mind since the first trip there.

With this trip to Nikko, we went into Toshogu Shrine, which I skipped last time since it required paid admission. As pretty as the shrine was over all, I won't deny that I was rather disappointed by the nemuri neko, also known as the sleeping cat. While cute, for something so famous, it was tiny, and I nearly missed it on the way to Ieyasu's actual tomb.

Another Japanese tourist explained that the cat was famous because the tomb was supposed to be quiet and peaceful enough for a cat to sleep in.

With all the tourists going in and out, I'm not too sure how peaceful it actually was though...

Distractions aside, the workmanship on the shrine was incredible. Japanese shrines tend to have a simpler approach, but the intricacy of Toshogu was amazing and I felt it bore a great resemblance to old Chinese-style architecture.

Unsurprising, since Japan is a country famous for its cultural imports. Toshogu shrine simply reaffirmed the fact.

We also got a chance to eat Nikko's specialty yuba, bean curd, cuisine.

My favorite place during my dad's visit was probably the Tokyo Metropolitan Building.

Tokyo Metropolitan Building has Observation Decks on the 45th floor, and the best part about these was that going up was free! I timed our trip so that we would be able to visit the observation decks at dusk, just in time to see Tokyo begin to light up in the dark.

After my dad made his return back to the US, my next order of action was to attend the Misato fireworks show.

I was fairly excited for these because

1. From experience, fireworks in Asian always majorly trumped those in the US and
2. I would be seeing friends from college whom, I realized, I hadn't seen for about two years.

It was definitely fun seeing old friends while mingling with new ones, so the fireworks seemed extra bright and fun that night.

And, of course, what better way than to end summer (and this post) with a bang?

Till next time!

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed the trip in Japan last month.  Tabia had already planned my itinerary before I arrived in Tokyo.  I did not waste my limited timing and tied schedule there, and was able to cover the most things and places I looked forward to seeing and experiencing.  It was an impressive and worthwhile trip.  I eagerly attempt to have the second time there...