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Nippon 2007 Tourists and Travelers

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Nippon 2007 Tourists and Travelers



September 8th, 2007

Possibly this is too late to do most attendees any good but maybe some are still around Tokyo, or liked it and plan to return someday to see more (like me). I found Tokyo City Atlas: A Bilingual Guide (3rd Ed.) (edited b Atsushi Umeda) tremendously useful for figuring how to get around Tokyo, while still being small enough to carry around everywhere.

On my next-to-last day I found the excellent Cruising The Anime City: An Otaku Guide To Neo Tokyo by Patrick Macias and Tomohiro Machiyama in the 1st Books in Shibuya (if memory serves, just a few blocks along the road to the left of the Starbucks across from the Hachiko exit). That led me to the Broadway mall across the street from the north exit of Nakano (just a stop or two along the JR Chuo line from Shinjuku station), which was full of strange and wonderful things. Its guide to Akihabara would have come in very handy if I'd known about it earlier, although Aki is fun just wandering around, too.

If I'd had more time or less typhoon, combining the two would have led me to the GeraGera Manga Cafe (1-20-1 Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku) just east of the Seibu-Shinjuku station. If you miss the last train and have no one to Karaoke with, you can spend all night reading manga for 1500 yen or so, apparently. That might have come in handy for jets2007.

Those who prefer books to manga might find the used-book district of Jinbocho more appealing, although I didn't get to it this time.

September 3rd, 2007

Here's the whiteboard contents at the end:

(click on image for full-res)

September 2nd, 2007


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Madame de Jurjewicz
I've had a wonderful time here, and I hope you have, too! We're staying on another 2 weeks, and my sore foot turns out to require massive doses of anti-inflammatory. I'm not sure I brought enough Ibuprofen to last. (I shoulda filled my MD's Rx for 600 mg. pills, but noooooo....) If you're headed home and have some to spare, please leave it for me at the desk of the PAN PACIFIC (across from Convention Center). I'm checking out at 11 a.m.

Or, if you know what it's called over here, that would be swell.

September 1st, 2007

I still do not have a flight back
and I need to find a place to stay in Tokyo tomorrow (Monday).

Any recommendations?

I should be wandering around under my propeller beanie
throughout the day.

August 31st, 2007

my final days

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I have much less time than I thought.

Ideally I would to summit Fuji-san but I really would like a hiking partner and I do not know how to meet a fellow hiker on such short notice (I am taking about tomorrow (Sunday) or Monday).

If I have just Monday for Tokyo, what would people suggest?

Can a guided walking tour be arranged with a profession guide?
Even if I see far less, I much prefer 8 hours on foot to a mad rush in a tour bus.
I have also been told that most museums are closed Mondays.
Because of work, I have to cut my vacation short and fly back after the holiday weekend.
I do not want to spend a halfday on the phone rearranging the flight (as happened when I had to change my flights to Japan).

Does anyone have suggestion on how I change my flight and not spend forever on the phone?

September 1st, 2007

If, like me, you are staying in an expensive, high-end hotel, you probably don't have access to a self-service, coin-operated laundromat. Rather than paying laundry prices that make throwing the clothes away and buying new ones seem economical, I asked the concierge at the Intercontinental for some help. He produced a pointer to this bath house at 45-4, Honcho, Tobe, near Tobe JR Station. But the map isn't that good, and note that the sign out front has changed. The laundromat is actually the doorway to the right in the photograph. My wife and I went hunting for this place today, and eventually stumbled onto it.

This Google Map has the place in the center of it, but I don't know of any way to do a push-pin on this map, so I can't point to the precise spot. The actual laundromat is a tiny hole-in-the-wall place located in the block marked "45" and on the lower-left corner of this block. It's just above the left-pointing arrow in the street in front of it, and thus the third door from the left on that block. The second door from the left is the bath house pictured in the earlier link. The peach-colored block to the right of that block is a convenience store, specifically a "Community Store" brand. The pink line to the lower right is a the railroad line, as this is a block away from Tobe railway station. I think anyone who can zoom back out from this may be able to find their way from the Pacifico complex -- but I warn you that it's not exactly simple and you need patience to find it!

Bring lots of 100-yen coins for the machines and 10-yen coins for the laundry-detergent dispenser if you decide to take a shot at this place.

August 29th, 2007

Ghibli directions

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If anyone is travelling on their own to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka (and has their voucher already) instead of taking the Worldcon bus tour, here are the directions we used successfully. Remember to take your passport and voucher!

From MinatoMirai station (under Queen's Plaza near the convention hotels) take the train to Shibyua (through Yokohama) via the Tokyu Toyoko Line (440 yen), then take Yamanote line (Green, track 1) from Shibuya to Shinjuku. From Shinjuku take the JR Chuo line to Mitaka. Limited Expresses are better to save time. Rather than figure out fares we just bought the cheapest fare each time and then put the ticket into the fare adjustment machines just before the exit and fed the additional money in; worked like a charm. The machines take 10,50,100,500 yen coins and 1000,2000,5000 yen bills. I don't recall if they take 10,000 yen bills.

This next part is thanks to Anime Tourist's Ghibli Museum Survival Guide: Walk out the south exit of Mitaka station and follow the curving ramp to the left, go down the stairs, and cross the street to the bus stop, where you can buy round trip tickets for 300 yen at the yellow kiosk. The top portion is your ticket there, the bottom for the return trip. Ride the cheerfully painted bus to the museum (which will be on your left, or just follow all the kids off).

The Museum opens at 10 but it's good to get there a little earlier. We left MinatorMirai at 7:27 and got to Mitake station by 9.

When they let you in the gate, to your left is a nifty place to take photos, and to your right is the line to get into the museum. You can take photos outside and on the roof, but not inside. Once inside, it's best to drop off your stuff at the first floor locker (100 yen, which is returned when you get your stuff back), then immediately head up to the roof to take photos with the full size robot from Laputa. The gift shop on the top floor opens at 10:15, shop there before the crowds, then come back down to the first floor to stash it in your locker, and enjoy the museum as you please. We had an early lunch at the Straw Hat Cafe about 11, and it fills up quickly but there's apparently a take out window and you can eat outside.

Your ticket is a film clip, which you show to get stamped to let you see once a short Ghibli film on the first floor that will never be shown anywhere else or available on DVD. It shows at 15,35,55 after the hour so we waited for the previous group to go in, then got at the first of the line for the next showing. It's amphitheater style seating so we needn't have worried, but since we were tall we wanted to make sure we could get seats at the back and not block anyone's view. Currently they're showing a cute story about a water spider, so arachnophobes may want to skip that part. It was delightful.
We saw the film last, and it was good to sit a bit by then.

Then back out to the bus to Mitaka Station, the JR Chuo express to Shinjuku, Yamanote to Shibuya, Toku Toyoku to Minato Mirai.
(Well, actually instead we took the JR Chuo with a couple of transfers to Akihabara, but that's that and this is this.)

Sending a postcard from Japan to the US needs a 70 yen stamp, although I noticed there are colorful 80 yen stamps with animation heroes.

One more tip: At Akihabara (and probably other major stations, you can buy a "Tokyo Furi Kiipu" (Tokyo Free Ticket) for 1580 yen that lets you ride the Tokyo trains for an entire day. It's good for 6 months, you just scratch off the month and day that you use it on, and its valid then. The round trip from Minato Mirai to Mitaka and back (not including the bus for the final bit) was 1460 yen.

I've been wanting to visit the Ghibli Museum for six years, so I'm really happy to have done so as part of my Worldcon trip. Speaking of which, the con's starting in an hour so I'd better post this and get moving!

If you visit the museum, be sure to keep a sharp eye out for all sorts of delightful discoveries, especially at child's eye level.

Here, in Yokosuka

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on NB
A, D, and I arrived last night here in Yokosuka, a place not mentioned in any of the guidebooks we've seen, about 25 km south of Yokohama.
I want to see the battleship MIKASA memorial ship, to go together with my visits to AURORA and OLYMPIA, other museum/ memorial ships from the era, and A&D have a visit to a temple planned.  We`ll proceed to Yokohama separately, and rendezvous at the convention.

Another tourist site here is Verny's steam hammer.  It's also a US Navy base, and I suspect that's why it's not mentioned.

This hotel is nicely set up, but when I asked about the advertised WiFi, I was instead handed a bag containing a cable modem, its power supply, and the two cables necessary to connect it to the television cable system and my compuyer.  It was only a matter of moments to plug it all together, and it worked as expected, but the directions are all in  Japanese. 

My domestic-only mobile number is 090-6043-8271.

I just realized my computer is running on GMT, so my entries will show that time and date.
While at the Narita train station, I twice had my passport record by the police in a supposedly random check.
Is this wandering rodent to be constantly stopped by the local constables?
It would be a damper on my vacation.
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