Two Weeks Vacation

In the end, I couldn’t find a job in Japan…and you know, leaving Minamisoma was a bit harder than I’d thought that it would be. Going back to the US for vacation was a very different feeling than knowing that all of my belongings were in three suitcases I had with me and 14 boxes that I’d mailed, and that now there was no place to go back to. I’m still dealing with that a little. But as long as I push it to the back of my mind and don’t think about it, it isn’t a problem. The same way that I could push aside the fact that family was so far away while I was in Japan. If you don’t think about it, it doesn’t hurt as much.

The Friend who brought me to the train station took this picture. Leaving was a lot harder than I’d thought it would be.

Anyway, before I left Japan I had two weeks vacation planned in Tokyo with a good friend. Tokyo, it turns out, is not a good place to be in the middle of the summer. It was so hot and humid that we didn’t feel like doing anything some of the time. I was actually feeling sick for most of the two weeks, so I have far less photos than I’d probably have otherwise, but I thought that I should post them anyway. I’ll also have to go back and see what pictures I took on my phone…but since the phone currently needs to be charged, I’ll add those in later.

I’m not going to detail every little thing we did–a lot of it was searching bookstores for out of print books that Ashlyn and I were determined to find somewhere (and we found some, but not all). I should have at the time, but, as I said, I was feeling kind of sick. Which did not make for a fun vacation…I felt bad that I was holding Ashlyn back, and she felt bad that she was dragging me around.

First up are some random photos. Pictures from inside the Volks doll store in Akihabara, a couple of photos of a festival at night, and then just a few photos of dolls in various places. Also Tower Records. Japan still has a Tower Records. ^^

Next, photos of the Tokyo-Edo museum. The museum was actually really close to the hostel…only about a five minute walk. So it only made sense to make sure to stop by one day. Also, it had air conditioning, which was a definite plus.

A couple of random pictures at the hostel we stayed at and the area around the hostel. That town was known for sumo, apparently.
Also a few pictures from the Smartdoll store…and one of the dolls I’m debating on getting. I shouldn’t, since I don’t currently have a job. While he doesn’t come out till October, another one I was debating comes out later this month, so we will see if my good sense can prevail over the doll or not. :’P

The only day Ashlyn and I spent apart in Tokyo, I went on a bus tour with Yumi (that actually went to Chiba, outside of Tokyo) and Ashlyn went to the sword museum.

One day, Ashlyn and I did the traditional thing, and bought Japanese yukata. The place we bought them from even brought us outside to take pictures. The first time we went outside, I wore the geta, Japanese sandals. But when it turned out that the camera hadn’t had a memory card in it, we went out again, and that time I wore sneakers. These pictures weren’t taken by me, (I’m in half of them!) but rather by the assistant of the lady selling yukata. She took like a hundred, so I only picked a couple of my favorites to put here.

One time, Ashlyn and I met up with my friend Keenan who lives in Tokyo, and we went to Gotokuji–the temple famous for having lots and lots of lucky cats. Mainekineko is what they’re called in Japanese.

A different day, Ashlyn and I went with Yumi to see one act of kabuki (theater). It was only an hour, but even though we intended to line up early, we ended up being in time for standing room only at an earlier show. You couldn’t take pictures of the show or inside, but I got a couple of the outside and one of the cat that’s the mascot. He was sitting in the market downstairs, where you could buy souvenirs.

There were a few times when Ashlyn and I just wandered around. She had had a list of sweet shops she wanted to go to, but it was just sooo hot and humid that anything heavy didn’t sound very appetizing. We still managed to find a few of them though! We also visited a department store where every store in the building had a promotion going because of the Lion King movie about to come out.
Personally, I have zero interest in seeing any of Disney’s live action remakes. But some of the displays they had for it were neat, and the merchandise was fun to look at. Most of the stores said no pictures, but the Sailor Moon store said that pictures were ok! ^^
And we visited the Volks store in Harajuku…that’s where that big staircase is. Unlike the Akihabara store, inside the Harajuku one you aren’t allowed to take pictures.

And that was all the pictures I had for two weeks in Tokyo.

Day to day, I find the things I miss most are odd little things. The rice cooker I had, the pet bottle drink vending machines everywhere, Japanese rice, some of the food…my apartment, my little car…
there are, I’m noticing now, an awful lot of things that are made for Japan only, and are harder or impossible to get in other places. :/