And so after 3 years I’ve returned to Japan but this time I went up north to Hokkaido!
The flight this time was horrid HORRID each way. We had to do a flight from US to Narita and then one more from Narita to Hokkaido. Each way was delayed and each way had a CRYING BABY IN MY CABIN JESUS CHRIST WHY DO U BRING A BABY ON YOUR VACATION NOT LIKE ITS GONNA REMEMBER A THING ANYWAY (ﾉಥ益ಥ）ﾉ 彡┻━┻. The trip there was worse because not only was there ONE but TWO crying babies, from the same fucking obnoxious family and they were like taking turns crying via baby telepathy or something. Seriously it’s probably expensive as fuck but I am considering flying business class next time because crying babies aside, trying to contort myself into a sleepable position is extremely difficult…and after I DID fall asleep I woke up from the pain of my leg falling asleep orz. If the plane babies weren’t enough, our hotel put us into a room next to some family with a SCREAMING CHILD who thought it was awesome to wake up screaming at 6:30 AM every morning followed by its mother yelling NO STOP at it every 5 minutes. THIS TRIP REMINDED ME WHY I’M NEVER HAVING CHILDREN. We flew ANA so our food was Japanese which was nicer than the gross crap on United Airlines we got going back (it smelled so gross I just asked for a cup of tea instead.)
But anyway let’s talk about the trip itself 8D. At the Chitose JR station 2 American dudes helped us get a ticket because we’d had completely forgotten how to use the machines. Once we got to Sapporo though we were greeted with SNOW:
There was so much snow that the walkways were even made of snow. It was to the point that the city had given up trying to clear a path they instead “created” a path on the 1 foot of snow that was piled on the sidewalk. Additionally all around were 8-10 foot walls of snow piled on the sides of every road. IF YOU WEREN’T WEARING SNOW BOOTS YOU’D BE SCREWED but I was so it was no problem (✧≖‿ゝ≖).
We had a nice view of Sapporo and the mountains from our hotel room as well. A lot of people come to this area to skii but I’m a pansy and the most I’ll do is ice skate but due to the business of touring everything I decided to skip the skating figuring I’d probably land on my knees and screw myself with walking the rest of the trip. First day we kinda toured around Sapporo and found a guy feeding ducks & crows. Sapporo (or maybe Japan inaka in general) has really loud crows like the kind you always hear in anime but never really see in real life. This place has a ton and when you look at them up close its kinda scary:
On the first day the city was still preparing for the snow festival so a lot of stuff was closed off. We had actually arrived 2 days early which gave us time to check out other things first.
And by doing things first I mean…
So turns out the Evangelion exhibit was going on at the time of our trip so along with watching Evangelion 3.0 we went to see the exhibit. Most stuff there was off limits as far as camera but I managed to sneak in some ninja shots with my phone bwahaha. The nicer photos are the ones taken with my real camera though which was near the end of the exhibit. Unfortunately I was unable to buy any nice rice to bring back to America. ┐(‘～`；)┌ Click the thumbnails to see larger.
Yes I am actually a huge Eva fan lmao it was like one of the first anime I really liked back in ye olde year 1999 so it will always have that special place in my heart. As far as my thoughts on the movie – SHINJI YOU SUCK BALLS. I actually used to like Shinji but seriously I wanted to punch him in the face throughout the whole movie. There was quite a lot of ┌(┌ ^o^)┐ﾎﾓｵ but the movie actually made me like Kaworu a lot more than in the anime series or manga. Here he was really a true bro and I was so sad to see him go ;_;. Asuka was really awesome as well and you can definitely see her growing up mentally (even though physically everyone looks the same because of this Eva curse or whatever that is.) Ritsuko’s new hairstyle…ew lol. Also while I don’t really like Marie I think she was awwright in this one. Rei on the other hand…….ror pls go away. I enjoyed the movie so much I think I will buy all the movies if they ever release a box set in the US (though I think I need to also buy a Blue Ray player for my computer finally lol still playing DVDs like it’s 1996!)
Our next stop was to blow my moneys on otome good at Animate:
There was a MASSIVE AMOUNT of Kuroko’s Balls, Prince of Tennis, and Magi. It was like 70% those 3, and 30% everything else. I kinda feel bad for fans of any of those series they probably spend thousands of dollars on merchandise (lol like I should talk after how much I spent on this trip :lol:). I bought games and goodies but the games I will do unboxings of in separate posts and the goodies photos will be at the bottom of this post. It’s so funny that animate was like FULL OF GIRLS. I remember going to the Akihabara animate and it had mostly dudes in it but this was like 90% females. I mean they did have some guy merchandise at this animate but even in the cosplay section all the sizes were for girls, even for male costumes. While I was circling in the otome goods section a bunch of squealing girls came in a huge mob and it became difficult to walk through the store lol. Since I spent so much money they gave me free stuff to choose from but none of it was really anything I wanted so I settled on a Chuunibyou screen cleaner and a Psycho Pass clear file.
The following day we headed to a zoo where we saw animals you’d never see in the winter:
Seriously poor giraffes why are you out in the snow!? (´；ω；｀) They did have some REAL winter animals though:
We then headed to another town which felt like we had gone back in time 60 years.
Additionally we headed to a sushi-alley and stopped by a place where we got the entire 2nd floor to ourselves though it was brutally cold and we were huddling around an old-timey heating lamp lol. (Oh Japan and their lack of decent indoor heating.) This place is also famous for its glass and music boxes and though I was tempted by the music box playing Shoujo Jidai songs and bgms from Swan Lake I decided I had already bought enough crap 8D;;.
Since by today the Snow Festival had started it means THIS has started:
That’s right, Sapporo is the home of Snow Miku and now all of Crypton’s HQ! So all the Family Marts were full of Miku goods along with Animate, the festival itself and the Chitose airport participating! Since I’m also a huge vocaloid fan, this was another huge blow to my wallet ^q^;;;;. We also got to ride on the Miku light rail car up to a mountain (where it was cold as hell but the view was awesome.)
And finally the main reason for this trip:
While I enjoyed all the snow sculptures my photographing was interrupted when I was attacked by a bunch of lolis and shotas whose assignment it was to interview/get autographs of all the foreigners at the festival. I was like ok sure why not I’ll sign a few kids papers but a few turned into like….20 at which point I had to be like THIS IS THE LAST ONE SORRY SORRY *runs away* ┗(^o^ )┓三. Then some granny started a conversation with me (in Japanese) about how she can learn to speak English fluently and how they learn it in school all the time but nobody is ever fluent. I had to explain to her that her school knowledge is useless and that she should go watch some American dramas or TV shows to learn real natural conversation. Not sure if this was a good idea but I hope that granny learns how to have a basic conversations with the tourists who visit her town every year some day. 😆
On our final day we decided to check out the beer museum even though I don’t drink but it was still interesting to see all the historical stuff.
So as I mentioned before all the Miku stuff was happening at the airport…including a gallery of the artworks for the festival! Btw the Chitose animate is really tiny and ghetto and for some reason had a lot of Starry Sky merchandise in it lmao.
So anyway we’re making our way through clearance when suddenly
This pussy ass storm comes northeast, dumps 2 feet of pathetic-snow (compared to how Hokkaido has like 10 feet daily) and my flight to America is CANCELLED! ＼( ^o^)／ I had to think fast and the only thing I could think of was:
So seeing this as a blessing in disguise, I quickly booked some ghetto hotel nearby and the following morning we headed to Stellaworth and Animate in Ikebukuro! Stellaworth was a small 1 floor store while Animate had grown to 9 floors and was so separated now it felt like there was nothing there. Most floors felt more like “galleries” than a place to buy anime goods and there were now 3 floors dedicated to cosplay items. We also stopped by Namja Town since it was mentioned in TYB games but sadly it’s closed for renovation while they turn it into Shounen Jump land or something. Also at Stella a bunch of girls were screaming over the button machines..I managed to squeeze my way into their rabid pile and do 1 spin on the Clock Zero one and get a cute Rittan yay! 😀
- Unlike Tokyo, every bathroom I went to in Hokkaido had toilet paper in it. I expected needing to carry my own tissues for toilet paper but nope, every bathroom had one. So really it’s only Tokyo that’s a bunch of d-bags who don’t give you toilet paper.
- Due to there being no Melon Soda in America I drank it at every restaurant I went to that offered it. SERIOUSLY AMERICA GET WITH THE PROGRAM (and no bubble tea doesn’t count.)
- I thought Asian airlines were “better” than American ones but after all the delays and screaming babies and shitty movie selection I’ve concluded the only thing ‘better’ is the food. Otherwise everything else is pretty much the same but at least I got to watch Alice in Wonderland on the American airline (and sit there comparing it to the Quin Rose games lol.)
- Melon Books is FULL OF PORN. I thought that it was kinda like K-Books or Mandarake but turns out it’s really an ero-doujin/game shop and nothing else. There was like maybe 1 tiny section of girly porn but everything else was for dudes. I walked in and walked out within a span of 3 minutes lol. No thanks!
- I was asked twice if I wanted an Animate members card but with a heavy heart I had to refuse because it’s not like I will be visiting back anytime soon orz. (|||❛︵❛.)
- Hokkaido has some FRESH sushi. It’s so fresh that when I think of the sushi I eat in NY I squirm :s. I thought that sushi taste didn’t really matter to me but after eating actual fresh sushi, it may take some time before I can eat crappy sushi again.
- Soup Curry is a craze in Japan right now, but it’s really not that great. It tastes more like Indian curry and I actually prefer the sweet Japanese curry more so yea no thanks lol.
- That mousse I got at one of the department store basements was DAYUUUMM good and I regret that I didn’t spend more time down there getting fat from all their cakes *q*.
- I went to a really awesome 100 yen store at Sapporo Factory and if I could only fit more stuff into my suitcase I would have gone back a 2nd time and bought more crap. Seriously it’s like a million times better than the POS dollar store in NYC =_=;.
- There’s a store called “LOFT” in Japan but it doesn’t sell clothes for old ladies, it sells random household junk goods and things you don’t really need (like a animal shaped cover for your spray bottle or a thumb cover for flipping pages in all sorts of designs and colors rather than an ugly yellow lol.)
- BIC CAMERA is awesome as always and now that I finally got to browse the whole thing, I have the urge to buy that automatic scalp massager and blow dryer with a brush attached to it.
- I bought WAY TOO MUCH omg. When going through my goods I was like man why the hell did I buy this orz lol.
- As always, Japanese clothes are SUPER CUTE and I bought a few dresses and now I can’t go back to buying American clothes omg ~_~;. My favorite store was Axes Femme and me and the girl there had a chat about how I’m from overseas and I told her to come visit NYC some day (´＾ω＾｀). Also in Japanese dressing rooms, they have “face covers” which you put on your face while you put the outfit on yourself so you don’t smudge your makeup all over it. What a brilliant idea! Only Japan would be polite enough to do this. In America you’ll be lucky if the slobs even bring their fucking clothing out of the fitting room (/former retail rage.)
- LINE is awesome. It let me keep in touch with all my friends throughout this trip without me racking crazy text charges since it uses data and I had a fairly decent global data plan with me for emergency uses as well as wi-fi in my hotel.
- My first night in Sapporo there was an earthquake 10 minutes after I got into my room. It was a strange feeling but felt like you were rocking on a boat or something. Must have been a 3.0.
- I miss how on time and clean Japanese trains were. When being back in NY I’m stuck waiting for a train that never comes on a platform that’s covered in old gum stains and garbage.
- I barely played any otome games on this trip. I started the WOF fandisk at the airport and on the plane but then kinda stopped after finishing part of Est’s route. I was so tired from all the walking around in the cold every night that I’d just be out cold by 11PM. On the way home I started tinkering with Arcana Festa Regalo and I don’t really get it that much and I managed to win ONE duello with Liberta so far but I think it’s a game I’m gonna leave to subway commute since I’m just playing randomly without a guide. It’s cute but I don’t think I would have the patience to sit at home and broadcast my playthroughs of it like I do of other games. Hopefully I’ll get back to otome gaming this week since I bought a ton of games XD.
And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, what the hell did I spend all my money on that made my suitcase full to the brim! Also for the games and magazines I will do separate posts for those so stay tuned and thanks for reading!
And here’s the video: