In Attendance At The 98th Emperors Cup Final (2018)

New Years Day usually signals the start of things but the Emperors Cup Final basically brings the curtain down on the previous years domestic Japanese football season. For the last few years, watching it on TV (or sleeping through it!) in the afternoon on January 1st has always managed to fit in nicely with my family’s plans once the traditional family stuff (sake for breakfast, shrine visit, osechi feast etc) has been done earlier.

However, this years semi-finals and final dates were rearranged not once but Continue reading

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Cosplaying At Tokyo ComicCon 2018

  

The interesting thing about an event such as Tokyo ComicCon is that pretty much all attendees have a unique experience. People go to Makuhari Messe Convention Centre in Chiba for a variety of reasons whether it be to get a photo or signature from one of the special celebrity guests, to buy exclusive merchandise, to geek out with friends or to cosplay.

The latter two are my principle reasons. Meeting up with friends I haven’t seen for a while is always good but I do find that cosplaying is a slightly different experience these days. In the past it was novel and people were constantly snapping away on their cameras. Nowadays though cosplay is nothing new to Tokyo people with the huge Halloween “events” dominating the calendar so I think that just about everyone who wants one now Continue reading

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Tokyo ComicCon 2018

The third proper year of having Comic Con in Japan was certainly bigger and probably better too as the organisers tweaked things here and there resulting in a more efficient and well-organised event. To be fair, you would kind of hope that they’d have got a reasonable grasp of it all by now anyway! One such example was the task of getting an entrance ticket (¥3500) and the subsequent cosplay ticket (¥1000) which was all very smooth and took just a couple of minutes unlike last year where there was a lot of walking around and going back and forth.

  

This convention returned to the huge Makuhari Messe convention centre in Chiba where ‘Star Wars Celebration Japan‘ was held just over a decade ago. Many other annual events like Tokyo Motor Show, Tokyo Game Show and the Summer Sonic music festivals take place there too. I just wish it was a bit closer to central Tokyo! It was held over  Continue reading

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Tokyo Daytripper: An Abandoned Mask Museum, A Tiger Bus, A Santa Shop & A Cheese Garden!

The surrounding areas of Tokyo offer plenty of choice when it comes to day trips from the capital. Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama all have great places within 60-90 minutes travelling distance and Ibaraki prefecture (particularly Tsukuba city) is actually just 45 minutes from Akihabara. What to do though when you feel you’ve covered much of what those prefectures offer? The answer is Tochigi.

This prefecture is above Saitama and it’s main city Utsunomiya is an easy 100 minutes or so by local train from Ikebukuro. It’s an area I’ve visited increasingly during the last 18 months and another 50 minutes from there is Kuroiso Station which is the gateway to the delights of Nasu. A tiger bus was on hand to whisk people off to some sights but sadly the bus I needed to get to Nasu War Museum was just a regular one.

  

Nasu is a moderately popular countryside getaway destination for Tokyo residents and the main road Nasu-kaido reminded me of the east coast of Izu in some ways as likewise it was a major road running through it with all kinds of museums, restaurants, cafes, shops and so on at the side of the road. During my 50 minute walk between the war museum and Miroku Daikannon I came across this Santa and Moomin Continue reading

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Tokyo Daytripper: A Tall Kannon Statue & A Very Expensive Golden God Temple

  

The city of Nasu up in Tochigi prefecture seemed to me like it was basically just one long road, known simply as Nasu-kaido Street, with a load of cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops and museums off to the side of it. However, take one of the side roads off of it and there are a couple of unique, interesting and slightly quirky b-grade sights which are missed by the majority of visitors to the area.

Once I was done at Nasu War Museum I walked for about 50 Continue reading

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Tokyo Daytripper: The Only War Museum In Japan?

Teddy bears, cannabis, stained glass, classic cars, trick-art and toys are just a few eclectic examples of what can be seen in specialist museums in this popular getaway destination which is located up in Tochigi prefecture just over 20 kilometres north of Pyramid Onsen.

  

For someone with an interest in military things, I was primarily interested in visiting Nasu on a recent trip to see what has been billed as the only war museum in Japan. I have no idea of the validity in that statement as I always thought the Yushukan Museum  Continue reading

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On The Trail Of Shin Godzilla #7 – Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line & Utsunomiya

The seventh and final part of this ‘Shin Gojira‘ filming locations series limps to a disappointing finish but maybe that is quite apt given how many of the Godzilla movies have finished in such a fashion! The conclusion of this series ironically features locales that appear in the opening scenes shot on what is known as the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line. Despite the use of the word line though, it is not actually a train line but is the bridge and tunnel which help drivers get from Kawasaki (Kanagaawa prefecture) to Kisarazu (Chiba prefecture) or vice versa. Whats more is that there is a kind of floating service station called Umihotaru in the middle of the bay connecting bridge and tunnel.

This 2016 film starts off right away on minute one in Tokyo Bay where a pleasure craft called “Glory Maru” has been spotted adrift offshore of Haneda Airport.

N.B. The time codes given are approximate and may be slightly different to the DVD or blu-ray versions.

A distinctive tower called Kaze no Tō (the tower of wind), located in the middle of the tunnel between Umihotaru and land, is Continue reading

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