Japan Spring Trip 2010 – Days 1 and 2

9 04 2010


Thursday March 25th was the day I arrived back in my favorite city in the world Tokyo and my 6th trip to Japan so far for 2 weeks of fun! Quite an uneventful flight from the UK and once I’d arrived in Shinjuku on the Narita Expres train from the airport it felt like I was back home again. I was just so happy to be here again at such an important time of the year for Japanese people with hanami season having already started a couple of days previous to my arrival. Topped up both my SUICA and PASMO cards which are extremely handy if you intend to use the train and subway system in the city. It saves time from not having to purchase tickets every time you use the rail and underground network. Having checked into my hotel opposite the TMGB, I immediately called my best friend with the mobile I renting to ask when we could meet.

An empty train on a platform at Narita Airport

A quick change of clothes and a shower and I was off on the Chuo Line to Nishi-Kokubunji, some 35 mins out of Shinjuku. It was great to meet my best friend again having not seen her since last July. We went back to her place along with another of her friends who I knew before from my previous trips to talk, trade insults with each other (some things never change….) and have some food and drink. A chance to catch up on things more than anything and even though we couldn’t go out on the town drinking as my best friend was catching a flight to Kyushu in the South of Japan the next morning (where I would be joining her on Saturday too) it was still a fantastic time by all. By the time I got back to my hotel at nearly 12.30am I was fairly drunk and tired from the long flight but hell, it was worth it.


My first destination of the day was on an anime location hunt to Oizuma Gakuen on the Seibu Ikebukuro line and home to the world famous Toei Studios but it wasn’t the studios I wanted to see. The area is linked to one of my favorite animes from the 70’s – Galaxy Express 999. There are banners, street lamps and even a large mural around the train station associated with the series.

I could hardly contain the burning yen in my wallet anymore so having finished taking snaps of what I wanted to see in Oizuma Gakuen I rushed over to Nakano and to the Trio2 idol store in Nakano Broadway. Whilst going over there I received instructions from my best friend which terminal to go tomorrow morning at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to catch the ANA flight to Kyushu. I”ve never taken an internal flight in Japan or even been to Haneda Airport so I was looking forward to that. Haneda Airport is going to be expanded so that international flights will go there I believe in 2011 instead of Narita which I think is a wonderful idea as it’s quicker to reach Hamamatsucho by monorail in downtown Tokyo than the long 75 min trip by train from Narita.

Anyway, I finally reached the Trio2 shop in Nakano but I never expected to see such a sea of people mulling around the AKB48 merchandise there. Things have changed dramatically as last July there wasn’t that many people interested in their stuff. Morning Musume and other H!P products were the centre of attention. Not anymore! All H!P photos and products have been scaled down, in fact their section is really small and nobody takes an interest in them whilst AKB48 stuff takes pride and place in a fairly large area at the back of the store. It was nice to see a good cross section of Japanese society looking at their products and not just wotas. I managed to squeeze my way through the people to go through the photos of individual members on display. I got around 8 photos tonight including a couple of Takamina which I was really pleased and some old AKB48 singles which I’d missed out before on buying. There was no need to go crazy spending today as I’d be back here again more than once on my trip. I retired early in the evening ready for an important flight tomorrow.



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