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Tamashii no Tokyo Part 5 - Nostalgia Bomb

After we were done with Takeada's house, we started back to the train station and ended up stopping into Godzilla-Ya, one of the most venerable old toy stores in Tokyo. I didn't grab much, just a few beater chogokin and some Godzilla sofubi for the kids.

We stopped for lunch at a small shop - everyone got ramen but I got two plates of Gyoza. I kind of had buyers remorse here, but the Gyoza was great, so I didn't mind. The Ramen looked good though.

From here, most of the gang had to go to meetings and such, so Jordi and I decided to go do some sightseeing.

First place we hit up was the Bandai Corporate headquarters in Asakusa.


We thought we were going to get a tour, but actual work needed to be done, so we just hung out in the lobby. We weren't allowed to take pictures, but mostly its just displays of currently released Bandai product. There was one case with nostalgic items, in it was a MIB BLACK DALTANIOUS. Those of you who care know what a big deal this toy is.

Outside Bandai has the "Parade of Characters" so we took some pictures there, and I took advantage of Ultraman.


SD Gundam

Josh fondles Ultraman

We walk down the road a bit, and end up at arguably Tokyo's biggest tourist destination/trap - Asakusa Kannon. It's a series of gates, shrines and temples that have a ton of shops connecting them. Tourists are all over the place, taking pictures, buying knick-knacks and generally being touristy. I was guilty as charged. Jordi and I walked a bit, the smells of all the food vendors filling our noses. Too bad they were all too crowded to actually stop at.

Making Snacks

The first gate is called Kaminarimon Gate. The gate has statues of the gods Raijin (god of thunder) and Fujin (god of wind) on either side.

Kaminarimon Gate

Nakamise Dori is the long shopping arcade that connects you to the next gate. Along the way are all kinds of stalls, even toy stores, but are overpriced and have poor selection. The people there HATE having their shops photographed, which is an odd thing considering where they are located. I take their pictures anyway.

Nakamise Dori

The next gate is Hōzōmon Gate

Hōzōmon Gate

Look, I'm a tourist!

Hōzōmon Gate

There were some Sakura after the gate, in full bloom. The picture doesnt really capture how beautiful they were against the lanterns.

Sakura Blossoms at Asakusa

In front of the main hall is a big iron bowl full of burning incense. Bathing in the smoke is customary.

Incense at Kannondō

Incense at Kannondō

Inside Kannondō is noisy and crowded. People throwing coins into the offertory box, then a clap to announce their presence (I think).

Inside the hall is the shrine, behind a chicken wire screen. There were people in there, so there must be a way to get in. Maybe you have to be a member.


After we saw the shrine we headed out on foot to another adventure. I wanted to find this old toy store in Asakusa called Kusou. So we went out behind the hall, and I took this picture

Behind Kannondō

Note the giant fuzzy spot in the front. This becomes an issue, but more on that later.

This here is a pretty typical festival stall. You've got food on one side, in this case its Hello Kitty chocolate covered banana snacks, and then you've got a couple of kids games to the side.

Hello Kitty Chocolate Covered Bananas

Behind the shrine grounds is an old Amusement park called Hanayashiki. We came out from a side street and stumbled upon a Ninja Show. How random!

Hanayashiki Ninja Show

Hanayashiki Ninja Show

I love vintage Japanese signs.

Vintage Japanese Store Sign

Danger Steak! I wonder what makes steak dangerous?

Danger Steak!

Finally, we make it to Kusou, which you can view here

On the way back, we passed a Love Hotel that was lit up pretty awesome.

Love Hotel

Love Hotel

It was getting dark now, so we decided to head home. Nakamise Dori was all lit up now and looking beautiful.

Nakamise Dori

I couldn't NOT take a picture of this.

No't Photograph

Hōzōmon at night

This is Me and Jordi

Josh and Jordi

I am Gigantor!

Gojūnoto 5-story pagoda and Josh

Possibly my favorite shot from the whole trip

Gojūnoto 5-story pagoda

And I think that was the end of my day. I got dinner near the hotel, and dragged my ass back to the hotel.

Looking back at my photos though, it was pretty clear that there was something wrong with my camera. Closer inspection revealed that there was some kind of dust INSIDE the lens. I bought a box cutter at the am/pm and brought it back to the hotel. I pried off the outer lens with the flat of the blade, but realized that there's no way I could get inside the camera right now. So I knew that tomorrow I had a mission. Getting a new camera.

Posted 11 May, 2009 - 09:52 by JoshB