Day 7: The Meiji Jingu Shrine

Today I went to Harajuku to take a look at the Meji Jingu shrine. I’ve been there once before with Hide and Josefin.

This is the first “tori” – the portal – to the area.

The tori leading to the temple

The tori leading to the temple

The path to the shrine is so beautiful, even when it’s autumn. Last time I visited the meiji shrine, it was summer and rain season.

Really breathtaking nature. Still so green!

Really breathtaking nature. Still so green!

At home in Sweden, the winter has turned everything grey and dark.

At home in Sweden, the winter has turned everything grey and dark.

Very early I got approached by these colleague students; Yuka, Shun, Yu and Natsumi. ^^ They wanted to join me to practice their English and I got good company and guides. Perfect!

Yuka, Shun, Yu and Natsumi

Yuka, Shun, Yu and Natsumi

These guys were adorable and I loved to spend some time with them. They were so nice and they knew so much about the place. We walked and talked a lot.

I love to stroll in this area.

I love to stroll in this area.

This is one of the biggest Tori's. Maybe the biggest in whole Tokyo (or even Japan)? I'm not sure if I remember it correctly.

This is one of the biggest Tori’s. Maybe the biggest in whole Tokyo (or even Japan)? I’m not sure if I remember it correctly.

These guys told me so many interesting things.

Natsumi told me that this was a “couple tree”. One tree is the wife and one is the husband. They are united through the earth. These trees stood outside the Meiji Jingu Shrine.

A couple tree

A couple tree

Yuka was a big Gackt-fan so we sang Vanilla together while walking. ^^ Well, I hummed mostly, I don’t know the lyrics in Japanese. She had seen him live twice.

Shun showed me how to pray at the temple. We threw coins into some kind of wooden box, bowed twice and clapped our hands twice. Then we prayed. And then we clapped our hands once again.

I hope my wish will come true…

Shun, Yuka, Yu and Natsumi stands in front of the Meiji Jingu Shrine.

Shun, Yuka, Yu and Natsumi stands in front of the Meiji Jingu Shrine.

I bought these charms at the Meiji Jingu Shrine. Different charms have different purposes. I will give them to my brother, his wife and my niece. That small one is especially made for children to keep them with good health.

Charms

Charms

Back to parent

About these ads

Day 4: SAKE in Shinjuku!

After the Ghibli museum, we had some hours left before Hide had to jump on his night bus back to Osaka, so we strolled the streets of Shinjuku.

Shinjuk by night.

Shinjuk by night.

It was so beautiful.

It was so beautiful.

And it was FULL MOON! (✿ ♥‿♥)

And it was FULL MOON! (✿ ♥‿♥)

I like daruma dolls, and here's a bunch of them in different colors. ^^ Originally, they are red.

I like daruma dolls, and here’s a bunch of them in different colors. ^^ Originally, they are red.

If I remember it correctly, the daruma dolls usually lack of eyes when you buy them. Then you make a wish at home and paint one eye on the doll. When the wish comes true, you paint the other eye.

Oh, if only Swedish magazine stores could look like this... (。♥‿♥。)

Oh, if only Swedish magazine stores could look like this… (。♥‿♥。)

I couldn’t help myself from staring at all the magazines in a magazine store… and I couldn’t decide if I should buy anything or not. After all, I can’t read Japanese and I was already worried that I wouldn’t be able to bring everything home that I’ve been buying during this trip.

You can’t visit Japan without drinking Sake, right! Kanpai!!

Just like my favorite Nyanko Sensei, I love sake. ^^

Just like my favorite Nyanko Sensei, I love sake. ^^

So we headed to a nice diner place and ordered some food and some sake.

Here we're accompanied by some hamsters: Itchigo, Ku and Hoku. ^^

Here we’re accompanied by some hamsters: Itchigo, Ku and Hoku. ^^

The food was very tasty!

The food was very tasty!

And we got even more sake…

Drunken hamsters.

Drunken hamsters.

Eventually, me and Hide had to say good bye to each other and I did for the first time get lost in a Japanese subway station. Shinjuku station was bigger than I first thought…

Well, I got the opportunity to see wonderful wall-pictures while I was lost…

Seeing MUCC on the subway wall made me dream of living in Japan… what would it be like to see these wonderful things every day.

MUCC

MUCC

I’ve seen them live once. :-)
MUCC – Solid Sphere Tour

Back to parent

Day 4: The Ghibli museum in Mitaka

After visiting Calico cat cafe, me and Hide took the train to Mitaka to visit the Ghibli museum.

Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio that makes animes. It was founded 1985 by Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and the publisher Tokuma.

Their most famous movie is “My neighbor Totoro”. Other Ghibli movies I like – and recommend everyone to see – is Princess Monoke, Laputa – the castle in the sky”, “Kiki’s delivery service”, “Spirited away”, “Howl’s Moving Castle” and so on… I have a lot of favorites. ^^

a sample of Ghibli movies.

a sample of Ghibli movies.

I’ve wanted to visit the museum for a long time but by some reason those plans were canceled last time I was in Japan.

I love Ghibli movies, but to be honest, museums is usually not my cup of tea. So even though the subject interested me highly, I wasn’t prepared to be as overwhelmed as I became this time.

I don’t think I will be able to describe this amazing experience to its fullest. All I can say is that: if you’re a Ghibli fan – you MUST visit the museum. It’s sooooo cool! Even for someone like me who usually associate museums with sleeping pills.

When we had arrived to Mitaka station, Totoro showed us the way to the museum… so we began walking…

Totoro showed us the way.

Totoro showed us the way.

We reached the garden eventually where Totoro stood and waited for us. He’s pretty big!

Me and Totoro.

Me and Totoro.

Studio Ghibli want to keep the Ghibli atmosphere magical within the walls of the museum, and hence all photographing and filming is prohibited. Hence I have no indoors pictures to show you. We were allowed to take photos outdoors though.

The museum was embraced by a very beautiful garden, colorful and vibrant – even though it’s not summer.

So beautiful.

So beautiful.

A whole school-class was about to enter the museum and they got pretty excited when they saw me taking pictures on them. They started to shout and wave. Hide thought that they suspected me to be a celebrity. ^_-

School-class

School-class

The Ghibli museum is undeniable a popular resort in Japan and the place was pretty crowded. Mostly Japaneses though – I thought there would be much more western tourists.

In the garden outside, a mysterious path…

Where does it lead...?

Where does it lead…?

… lead us to the giant robot from the movie “Laputa – castle in the sky”…

The robot from Laputa - castle in the sky

The robot from Laputa – castle in the sky

… and to the Laputa Cube with mysterious inscriptions.

The Laputa rock.

The Laputa rock.

In the museum – which entire interior was remarkable and indescribable – we could see storyboards and sketches for all movies. I especially loved a room filled with mechanics and optic illusions.

This was so cool so I don’t think I will even try to describe what I saw in there. I just don’t have the words to do it well. You got to see it yourself.

We got tickets to see a short Ghibli movie, created exclusively for the museum. The movie was great and had that cozy Ghibli-feeling. The story concerned an old couple living on a mountain and sumo wrestling mice… ^^

The ticket was an actual piece of film ^^ I got some frames from Kiki’s delivery service.

My ticket - a piece of actual film.

My ticket – a piece of actual film.

I bought a souvenir at the museum, one of my favorite characters: the cat Jiji from the movie “Kiki’s delivery service”.

Kawaii ne?

Kawaii ne?

This was truly an experience I’m very happy for. When we walked out from the museum, watching this beautiful Christmas tree…

When it got dark outside...

When it got dark outside…

… and headed back to Shinjuku it felt a little bit like we left a magical world behind us.

Back to parent

Day 4: Calico cat cafe in Shinjuku

Today, me and Hide were going to visit the Ghibli museum and Hide had reserved tickets for us.

So we headed to Shinjuku to kill off some time first.

I wanted to go to a cat cafe, so we went to “Calico” which is located very close to the railway station.

Find your way to Calico cat cafe!

Find your way to Calico cat cafe!

We were greeted by the owner of the cat cafe who instructed us of the rules. We had to take off our shoes and put some slippers on, sanitize our hands, put our stuff in a locker and hang the ID-card that we were handed around our necks. We were not allowed to carry the cats or photograph them with flashes.

Already in the hallway I could see cats jumping around, curious and playful.

Even though the cafe is popular, it wasn’t crowded. Maybe since we visited it early a Wednesday. I think there was approximately 4 or 5 other customers at the cafe during our visit. Two girls sat on the floor, very relaxed with cats on their laps, talking to each other. It seemed like one of them used to come there every week or so.


 

The cats were so beautiful and you can imagine what I felt when I entered the cafe. I just love cats.

So grandiose and beautiful.

So grandiose and beautiful.

The stairway to the bottom floor was decorated with shelves for the cats to rest or climb on.

The stairway to the bottom floor was decorated with shelves for the cats to rest or climb on.

I fell in love with each and everyone, and started to miss my own cats - Luna and Peia - terribly. But I knew that Jessica Ö took good care of them.

I fell in love with each and everyone, and started to miss my own cats – Luna and Peia – terribly. But I knew that Jessica Ö took good care of them.

Hide likes cats too!

Hide likes cats too!

This crypt below was decorated with a sign saying “Danger!” They told us to be careful with this cat since it occasionally bit people. I don’t know what to think… I mean, after a while the cat left the ball and another one entered… ^_-

DANGER!

DANGER!

It was cats everywhere, sleeping in all kind of cat-beds. They seemed very used to humans and most of them let us pet them.

It was cats everywhere, sleeping in all kind of cat-beds. They seemed very used to humans and most of them let us pet them.

If you're a cat lover, I truly recommend you to visit a cat cafe in Tokyo!

If you’re a cat lover, I truly recommend you to visit a cat cafe in Tokyo!

It might be hard to find apartments in Tokyo which allows you to house pets like cats and dogs. That might be a reason why cat cafes have become such a popular phenomena in Japan.

It's a relaxing resort for people who loves cats but aren't able to have their own.

It’s a relaxing resort for people who loves cats but aren’t able to have their own.

This is a part of the room where we could sit down and order something to drink.

This is a part of the room where we could sit down and order something to drink.

They had a book which included all the cats in the building. In that book we could get further information of each cat, like their name, birthday, weight and so on.

They had a book which included all the cats in the building. In that book we could get further information of each cat, like their name, birthday, weight and so on.

I especially fell in love with this cat - Gomako. He was very cuddly and kind.

I especially fell in love with this cat – Gomako. He was very cuddly and kind.

I believe we both fell in love with this guy.

I believe we both fell in love with this guy.


 
We ordered some cafe latte and enjoyed it while watching the cats sleep and play.

The owner told us to be careful, since the cats were crazy about the skimmed milk...

The owner told us to be careful, since the cats were crazy about the skimmed milk…


Back to parent

Day 3: Princess for 1 hour in MaiDreamin

Ever since first time I heard about Japanese maid cafes, I wanted to visit one.

Maid cafe

Maid cafe

Maid cafes is a sort of cosplay restaurants that have grown especially popular in areas like Akihabara. Originally these cafes were designed to attract the fantasies of so called “otakus”; Japanese “nerds” (mostly males) who are obsessive fans of video games, manga and anime.

Typical description of a Japanese otaku. ^^

Typical description of a Japanese otaku. ^^

When I visited the manga figure stores, I was mostly accompanied by boys like these. Apparently there's not that many female otaku's who enjoy the beauty of these dolls. I think otakus are charming though! ^^

When I visited the manga figure stores, I was mostly accompanied by boys like these. Apparently there’s not that many female otaku’s who enjoy the beauty of these dolls. I think otakus are charming though! ^^

This is a Korean otaku who recently married his pillowcase (decorated with a character he obviously love very much). ^^ I can't help it, but I adore odd people.

This is a Korean otaku who recently married his pillowcase (decorated with a character he obviously love very much). ^^ I can’t help it, but I adore odd people.

Western otakus. ^^ Yes, the kind of people I usually get surrounded by on the Japaneses events I'm going to now and then. *lol* ^^

Western otakus. ^^ Yes, the kind of people I usually get surrounded by on the Japaneses events I’m going to now and then. *lol* ^^

When you become a costumer of a maid cafe, you will be entitled as master (if you’re a male) or as a mistress (or princess) if you’re a girl.

Today, maid cafes attracts women as well, couples and tourists.

The waitresses at a maid cafe are mostly dressed up as “french maids” in petticoat dressed, stockings and with bows or a frill in their hair. Some maids wear bunny- or cat-ears for extra attraction. The employees are mostly young, pretty and innocent-looking girls that can live up to this “moe-fetish”. In manga and anime, moe often refers to adoration for young or innocent-looking female characters.

You will hear this “moe”-expression later in a chant.

Maid cafe in anime

Maid cafe in anime

All maid cafes are not the same. The costumes may differ, as well as the rituals. Some are more extreme than others. I believe our cafe was pretty normal. ^_-

There are maid cafes in which the maids kneel in front of the master to stir their tea and even offer to feed the master with a spoon for extra charge.

Spoon-feeding anyone?

Spoon-feeding anyone?

I’ve even heard of maid cafes that offer ear cleaning and massage (which truly don’t interest me… Eeewww ^^) and I don’t think it’s that uncommon with maid cafes in which you can pay extra to play cards or similar with a maid. In some ways, I would like to consider maids as a form of modern geishas. They entertain.

The maid menus do not differ a lot from regular cafes, but they tend to decorate the meals and deserts a little extra with cute designs. You will see our own example later.

Cute food.

Cute food.

There are some common rules that you’re expected to follow in almost all maid cafes. Most of them are pretty obvious.

For instance, you’re not allowed to touch the maid in inappropriate ways (of course!!!), you’re not allowed to stalk her or ask her for private information. You are not either allowed to take photos of her or of the interior in the cafe.

Maid cafés may allow you to get photographed with a maid if you pay an extra fee though and these photographs mostly get decorated by the maid, especially for you. You can see my example later in this post. :-)

Well, neither me or Hide had been to a maid cafe before, so we weren’t sure of what to expect.

There’s a lot of maid cafes in Akihabara (there are maids on the streets handing out flyers everywhere), so we just had to pick one.

Not my photo.

Not my photo.

It turned out that we decided to Visit “MaiDreamin“.

We just picked one.

We just picked one.

The cafe was obviously located on the highest floor in a very big building, so we had to enter an elevator. It was small and rusty and I really didn’t know what to expect.

As the elevator had reached top floor and the doors opened, it was like entering a magic world of soft pink light, a warm atmosphere and smiling people.

Not my animation.

Not my animation.

Three cute maids in adorable dresses shined up and came skipping toward us, shouting something I guess must have been “Welcome home Master” and “Welcome home Princess”, since that’s how they usually greet their guests.

One maid became our “main maid” and she lead us to a table in this lovely room with soft lights and colorful and cute interior.

A group of boys where sitting at another table, all wearing silly hats, and I thought “Ha ha ha, such nerds…”

Well, just you wait Iona…

Magical candles that leads you to fantasy land.

Magical candles that leads you to fantasy land.

Our maid knelt down at the table and had a small electronic candle in her hands. She mostly spoke Japanese so I’m happy that Hide joined me and could translate.

She said that it was a magic candle, and when it was lit, we would enter Dreamland.

I don’t remember if she made us count or chant something, but the candle got lit and our visit in this fantasy world began.

She handed us a cute menu with offers and desert. There was hearts, stars, cute bears and cats painted everywhere.

Certain “package-menus” offered us something to eat as well as special offers like gifts, posters of the maids and the opportunity to get photographed with two maids instead of one.

Well, more the merrier I thought and decided that I wanted to be photographed with two maids. You can see the photo below.

Me and Hide ordered ice-cream. I chose a vanilla cat and Hide a chocolate bear. We were allowed to take a picture of these cute and tasty beings and so I did.

Hides chocolate bear and my Vanilla cat.

Hides chocolate bear and my Vanilla cat.

Before eating, our maid wanted us to join her in a little song, or maybe we can call it a “little chant”. I had a little bit of hardship to learn these words, since I can’t speak Japanese, but I did as well as I could.

I think one of the chants was the following words, and it was supposed to make our food become extra tasty:

Oishiku nare
moe moe kyun!

Apparently “moe moe kyun” is some kind of otaku meme. You remember the moe-concept?

Not my animation.

Not my animation.

The ice-creams were delicious!

Now and then, maids approached us for some friendly chats and entertainment, giving us compliments and such. They liked my hair and wondered if it was all mine. Of course it is! ^_-

Suddenly, while eating our ice-creams, our maid came skipping from behind and put a silly hat on Hide’s head. It was the head of a reindeer. I sure got surprised and before I knew it, she put something on my head as well. Hide told me it was a couple of black horns.

How suitable! ^_-

Glowsticks for party mood.

Glowsticks for party mood.

So now I was the one to sit there with a silly head accessory and I felt bad for thinking such thoughts of the boys at the other table.

Another maid told us that they would put up a show for us and asked to buy some glow sticks, which we did.

And another maid gave us a handwritten paper with the lyrics – I guess – for a song. Hide told me that he didn’t understand the concept of it though, that it was just irrelevant words put together. Apparently this was a bit strange for a native Japanese as well.

Well, it was a pretty paper, written by hand and decorated with cute kitties.

Some minutes later, the maids gathered in the pink spotlight and jumped up on a small stage formed as a pink heart. Music started to play and they sang and shouted like professional entertainers. They wanted us to cheer with our sticks and shout with them – and so we did. ^^

Not my animation.

Not my animation.

It was an amazing show and the maids gave their hearts and souls to us. I was so impressed and it was incredible to see. I think I smiled the whole time during our visit at that cafe. And laughed of course. I don’t think anyone can resist doing that.

Later, another maid wanted to sell us souvenirs, but I said no, ’cause I thought I had spent too much money there already. The maid looked really sad and said something with a very disappointing sound. Gosh, they are truly professional actors. Very hard to resist.

We both received a member-card in which Hide got entitled “Master” and I got entitled “Princess”.

Princess Iona

Princess Iona

With this card I was granted a special show next time I visited MaiDreamin. ^^

I believe maid cafes is a perfect place to go to when you feel depressed and alone. Even though it’s only a show, it DO make you feel better. They have such cozy atmosphere and the maids are so sweet.

After we had finished our ice creams and our coffee, we were asked to pick two favorite maids to be photographed with.

Oh, this was so hard, ’cause I liked them all. But I picked two, and we all stepped up on the heart-shaped stage and got photographed together. Our maid decorated the photos and handed them to us before we had to leave.

My and Hide's photos. The maids instructed us to take these "cute" poses. *nyan nyan*

My and Hide’s photos. The maids instructed us to take these “cute” poses. *nyan nyan*

This was truly quite an experience, and I don’t you can fully get how weird everything felt if you haven’t been to a maid cafe yourself. So if you plan to got Japan, you MUST try it! ^^

Back to parent

Day 3: Me and Hide in Akiba

I met Hide at the Aoyama-itchome station and it was SO great to see him again. We gave each other a warm hug. He hadn’t changed much at all. ^^

This picture was taken back in year 2009 when me and Josefin visited Japan and Hide the first time. :-)

This picture was taken back in year 2009 when me and Josefin visited Japan and Hide the first time. :-)

After we had dropped Hide’s stuff at the hotel we continued to Akihabara. I convinced Hide to participate in a Purikura photo session with me. ^^ And this is the result:

Aren't we looking cool! ^_-

Aren’t we looking cool! ^_-

We strolled around quite a bit in Akiba – I mean, there’s so much to see!

By the way, for you who doesn’t know – the smoking situation is quite funny in Japan!

In Sweden we are nowadays used to the fact that smoking indoors is a big NO NO, but outdoors you can smoke wherever you want (and usually people throw their cigarette butts wherever they feel like (which makes our streets quite trashy).

In Japan, it’s mostly illegal to smoke outdoors, except in certain “smoking areas”. If you’re caught smoking outside, while walking the streets for example – you may be convicted to pay a fee of 2000 yen.

What you see here is a “smoking area” in Akihabara, outside Yodobashi store. I started to laugh when I saw it, ’cause it looks like an outdoor cage! And inside, all dirty smokers were crowding in a cloud of cigarette smoke. ^_- Like animals.

Animals (smokers) in a cage.

Animals (smokers) in a cage.

Hide and me visited a lot of otaku stores (I just love nerdy things). Like manga stores for instance. Gosh, there are SO MUCH manga!!! Floors after floors after floors in all these giant shopping buildings!

How do people even find what they are looking for?

Soooo much manga...

Soooo much manga…

Lol, I believe Japan is quite unique in many ways. Where do you otherwise find entire floors with pornographic comics? ^_-

X-rated

X-rated

We also visited a lot of doll’s store, simply ’cause I love dolls. This store sold parts of dolls so you could design and build them together yourself. Unfortunately it was way too expensive for me.

Dolls you put together yourself.

Dolls you put together yourself.

I was searching for a new manga figure to my collection and probably inspected thousands of manga dolls during my visit in Japan. I’m really grateful to Hide who endured doing this with me.

I didn’t find anything to my liking today though.

Manga figures

Manga figures

This day had only started. The funniest thing of this day was yet to come… I will tell you in next blog-post.

It was so so.. so crazy. ^_-

Back to parent

First day in Japan

I slept most of the trip to Japan which made time go by much faster. Suddenly I woke up and saw a mountainous landscape and the pilot informed us that we soon would prepare our landing at Narita Airport.

The world is so beautiful from above.

The world is so beautiful from above.

Toyooka-san met me at the airport and gave me some initial help to adjust to the world I’ve just stepped into. After all, it’s been three years since I last time visited Japan.

This is me and Toyooka-san. The picture was taken in a Purikura-booth a little bit later that day.

This is me and Toyooka-san. The picture was taken in a Purikura-booth a little bit later that day.

The weather was sunny and the air neither hot or cold (~11 degree celcius). Much much better than the rainy and chilly weather in Sweden.

We took the train to Tokyo and continued to my hotel via subway. My hotel – Asian Center of Japan – was very close located to Aoyama-Itchome station (exit 4). I wouldn’t mind staying at that hotel next time I come to visit, since it was located so near my favorite area Harajuku. And it was a very nice hotel.

We decided to take something to eat and I knew that there was some kind of “Ninja-restaurant” in Akasaka (the area in which my hotel was located). So we started walking.

A portal to a temple in Akasaka, close to my hotel.

A portal to a temple in Akasaka, close to my hotel.

Unfortunately, the restaurant wasn’t opened yet. Next to it we spotted some Swedish flags. That was actually a restaurant with Swedish theme and it was called “Restaurant of Stockholm”. Outside was a big relief of Stockholm city, so me and Toyooka-san could point out Gamla Stan and Kungsholmen (where Toyooka-san lived during his visit in Sweden).

I'm standing outside "Restaurant Stockholm" in Akasaka, Tokyo. The diners inside seemed excited to see me there.

I’m standing outside “Restaurant Stockholm” in Akasaka, Tokyo. The diners inside seemed excited to see me there.

We didn’t go to eat there though, but I must say I’m curious of how japaneses cook swedish dishes. After all, I was in JAPAN, I wanted JAPANESE FOOD! Not swedish one…

So we continued walking around in Akasaka.

Akasaka

Akasaka

Some things in Japan is very strange. Like this commercial poster. Some kind of restaurant where they serve raw meat and the waitresses is equipped with whips? Very, very strange.

Want some meat?

Want some meat?

And the pharmacies looks quite strange too. But I love the colors.

Colorful pharmacy in Akasaka.

Colorful pharmacy in Akasaka.

Finally we found a place in which we could order some Ramen, which I was extra hungry for at the moment.

First we ordered Gyoza, some kind of dumplings. They were SOooo delicious. I recommend everybody to try them out.

Gyoza

Gyoza

And the ramen was very tasty as well. I ate so much I almost got ill. ^^

Ramen

Ramen

Toyooka-san is standing outside some kind of Pachinko-hall with Neon Genesis Evangelion characters outside.

Toyooka-san is standing outside some kind of Pachinko-hall with Neon Genesis Evangelion characters outside.

Then we headed to Akihabara for a short trip. Akihabara is also known as Akiba – the electronic city. It turned out that we didn’t need to take the train to the Akihabara station. We could go directly by subway to Suehirocho (Ginza line). The exits is located at the “end” of the big shopping street, seen from the Akihabara railway station. Very practical.

I love toys and these kind of games... often found in the "Game Taito Stations", but they always steal all my money. I get so excited and easily tricked...

I love toys and these kind of games… often found in the “Game Taito Stations”, but they always steal all my money. I get so excited and easily tricked…

And of course I convinced Toyooka-san that we should take some Purikura pictures, since I think that it’s SO fun (I’m very childish and easily amused, so I’ve heard…). And this is how the pictures turned out.

I simply love purikura.

I simply love purikura.

So fun!

So fun!

Strike the pose!

Strike the pose!

Later I felt a little bit tired. After all, I hadn’t been sleeping in a bed since I started my journey to Japan. Me and Toyooka-san ended our evening with a little “fika” at a cafe in Akihabara.

Taking a fika

Taking a fika

Then Toyooka-san left to go home to Shizuoka. I stayed a little while in Akihabara before I returned to my hotel.

Among else, I kept playing in the Purikura booths. ^^ Mostly the pictures didn’t turn out as I wanted at all, since all instructions and buttons were in Japanese. I just pressed here and there randomly.

Oh, here's something in english... I think... so cute. ^_-

Oh, here’s something in English… I think… so cute. ^_-

Me in purikura photo

Me in purikura photo

The lence louse

The lens louse

Akihabara looks amazing by night!!!

Akihabara looks amazing by night!!!

I bought these mouth-covers in a convenience store. I think they are very practical during winter. They keep my face warm and moist and protect me from harsh winds. The material is aery and you don’t get that cold and wet sensation as when you breath into a scarf. I also feel that it’s very nice for my sinuses which usually get infected during winter.

People with look at me very skeptical in Sweden...

People with look at me very skeptical in Sweden…

So I really don’t care if the swedes think that I look like a moron! They probably think that anyway! ^^

I got so happy when I noticed that I had a japanese toilet with dashboard in my hotelroom.

I got so happy when I noticed that I had a Japanese toilet with dashboard in my hotel-room.

And take a look at these instructions to a japanese toilet. Note that you even can adjust the wolume of the "fake" flush sound. ^^ I love japanese hightech toilets!!! ^_-

And take a look at these instructions to a Japanese toilet. Note that you even can adjust the volume of the “fake” flush sound. ^^ I love Japanese high-tech toilets!!! ^_-

I have truly arrived in PARADISE! ^^

Back to parent

Okinawa Kitty

Monday 13th must be my lucky day. So many exciting things have happened.

When I arrived home, I found this surprise in my mail:

A gift from Japan!!

かわいい!!!

どうも ありがとう ございます Toyooka-san!!! ^^

It’s soooo cute, I love it. ♥ ♥ ♥

Okinawa Kitty

Okinawa Kitty

It is called an Okinawa Kitty and it’s a local limited one. They have local limited Hello Kitty’s in different prefectures in Japan (there’s 47 of them) and something special about that prefecture is shown with the Kitty.

When I met Toyooka-san here in Stockholm, he gave me a Shizuoka-Kitty who drank green tea on the Fuji mountain for example. ^^ Shizuoka is known for its green tea and the Fuji mountain.

Toyooka-san explained to me that this Kitty looks a bit like a Shiisa, a Okinawan mythological creature that is a cross between a lion and a dog. Shiisas are wards, believed to protect from evils.

Can’t explain how grateful and happy I am that someone thinks of me and gives me something special like this. Thank you!

Tyresta virgin forest

Tomorrow, Toyooka-san will return to Japan and there was one thing left that I wanted to show him: Tyresta virgin forest.

Blue anemorte

Blue anemorte

I took him to Tyresta and we strolled around in the nature for some hours. Unfortunately, spring hasn’t arrived fully to Sweden yet and the broad-leaved trees still lacks of leaves and color. But there was luscious moss and green coniferous trees. We heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker and Black Woodpecker, and found traces from squirrels.

The nature is lovely. Even in the winter.

The nature is lovely. Even in the winter.

We took a walk to Bylsjön (a lake) at which we sat a while, looked at the ducks and munched on some “fika”, gingerbread and milk.

Then we headed back to the bus-stop. We were lucky, ’cause just when we had to jump on the last bus back to Handen, it started to rain.

We returned to Stockholm, ’cause Toyooka-san wanted to eat meatballs and mashed potatoes at restaurant Kvarnen again. Somehow I persuade him into ordering my favorite dish instead: lightly salted hand of pork and sauerkraut. I think he liked it. :-)

Salted hand of pork and sauerkraut.

Salted hand of pork and sauerkraut.

It feels a little bit sad that he will be leaving, ’cause I have enjoyed his company so much. But I hope we will meet again. Maybe in Japan next time…? :-D

Sayonara Toyooka-san

Sayonara Toyooka-san

Kungsträdgården, Djurgården and Skansen

Today, me and Toyooka-san decided to have another adventure in Stockholm city!

First of all we went to Östermalm to visit different kinds of design and glass/crystal stores. I have never thought about Sweden as a country with beautiful glass-design and Toyooka-san’s fascination really surprised me. I think he found a lot of things that he liked. Next time I’m in Japan I need to pay more attention to what glass looks like over there.

I’m not that very much into modern design when it comes to home decoration I guess… First of all I’m “programmed” to search “function” rather than “prettiness” when it comes to homes, but of course I got some nicknack myself, if you can call it that… like my skulls and my manga dolls. And my posters. They don’t really have a function, but they fascinate me. Then I don’t have that much space for nicknack either… maybe that’s one of my main reasons when I think about it. ;-p

Toyooka-san stands next to one of the Japanese cherry blossom trees.

Toyooka-san stands next to one of the Japanese cherry blossom trees.

Here’s Toyooka-san standing next to one of the Japanese cherry trees at Kungsträdgården. I really look forward to “Körbärsblommans dag” (The cheery blossom day) that will take place April 30th. I hope all trees are in bloom by then. In Japan, Hanami has already begun.

I found a friend here. Mr. Rabbit needed a hug!

I found a friend here. Mr. Rabbit needed a hug!

We continued to Gamla Stan and Toyooka-san bought some Dala-horses. That’s after all one of Sweden’s most famous symbols. I really wonder why though, ’cause they are really ugly. I feel sorry for tourists that must buy such ugly souvenirs. ^_-

When we arrived at Slussen we jumped onto one of these boats to Djurgården!

On our way to Djurgården.

On our way to Djurgården.

Toyooka-san and I enjoys the ride by boat.

Toyooka-san and I enjoys the ride by boat.

At Djurgården we headed to Skansen, which probably is Swedens most well-known zoo. The area holds a lot of animals but also a lot of old buildings from different eras in Swedish history.

Old buildings

Old buildings

We strolled around a lot and visited monkeys, amphibians, reptiles and Scandinavian animals.

I really like lemurs and have done so since childhood. They act and look so funny.

Toyooka-san pose with the monkey!

Toyooka-san pose with the monkey!

I pose with the monkey!

I pose with the monkey!

Afterwards we went to eat at a restaurant in Gamla Stan and walked back to the subway station at Sergels Torg. It was a really beautiful evening and I realized that Stockholm can be very pretty sometimes.

Twilight in Stockholm.

Twilight in Stockholm.