Category Archives: Japan Travelogues

Japan 2007: Ikebukuro Tokyu Hands


For Day 2 in Japan, we decided to take it easy–only a few train stops away from our home of Saitama (seen above, in the daytime, this time) to Ikebukuro. Ikebukuro is a lovely little mini-city within Tokyo, most notable for… shopping. It features several huge malls, most notably the Sunshine City complex, and the flagship store of Japan’s largest chain of anime and manga stores, ANIMATE, is in Ikebukuro.


In Japan there are plenty of ways to get around, including the public rail (JR) which are above ground trains, and the private above-ground trains and the Tokyo subway system (below ground). All of these trains operate using the same perfect tap-card, meaning you never have to fumble with different tickets, tokens, or fares. Your tap-card (a credit card with a chip in it that can be read without being swiped) also works at lots of vending machines and convenience stores. Toronto could learn a thing or two (note: this will be a theme).

Please continue reading after the cut:

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Japan 2007: Day 2 (Here I Am, Rock Me Like A Hurricane.)

chris-gelatonoir-300.jpgDid you know there’s a typhoon coming? And that a typhoon is actually a hurricane? And that on our way home from Ikebukuro, the trains were not only late (shocking!) they were stopped altogether? And that none of my friends can remember such a thing happening? I do! I know all of this. Now. Tomorrow’s plans may be off. Luckily, I took 519 photos today, so I’ll have something to post when we can’t leave the house tomorrow morning…

Anyway, I’m exhausted from walking for like 14 hours and then the ordeal of getting home with no train. No big posts right now. When I wake up tomorrow though, I’ll post the first half of the day (at least). Until then, you can wonder what the HELL I am about to eat in this photo.

– Christopher

Japan 2007: Day 1 (Convenience Stores and Shopping Malls)

Day0- Sleepy Saitama

I’m in Japan. Above you can see Saitama just north of Tokyo, where we’re staying for much of our trip. It’s very hot and very humid here, but sitting here under some lovely A/C and looking back over today’s photos? It’s damned lovely. Also? I’M IN JAPAN. Everything is wonderful so far.


I’ve been up for 28 hours, so after arriving at Narita and taking the train through Tokyo everything is awesome. Variety stores. A mall. Bookstores, arcades, all of it. It’s absolutely amazing and I’m very tired and don’t have much to add. So! Here’s some more pictures (after the cut).

Continue reading Japan 2007: Day 1 (Convenience Stores and Shopping Malls)

I’m Going To Japan

I’m heading to Japan in early September, thanks to the very gracious hospitality of friends of mine who are living just outside of Tokyo that will make the trip less financially impossible. I’ve been really looking forward to going to Japan for years; the Japanese culture has had a hold on me since I was 14 and I’m really looking forward to scratching the itch that has developed.

I’ve already been fortunate enough to get some great advice from friends who’ve visited the region before on business and for vacation, but I have something of a broad and diverse readership here with their own impressions of the country, so I thought I’d open the floor. What should I see? Where should I go? In particular, can you recommend any great vegetarian cuisine for my husband who is afraid of fish? If you could list a few things that I shouldn’t miss in the comments section? That’d be great.


A little background: We’re going to be spending most of our time in the Tokyo area, with quick trips to Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto on this trip. Obviously I’m interested in manga (and to a lesser extent, anime), but other cultural happenings or unique experiences would be great too. We already plan to hit the larger interesting neighborhoods like Akihabara, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Roppongi (and the ridiculous Roppongi Hills complex), Ginza, etc., but we’re looking for the wonderful things within those neighborhoods that shouldn’t be missed.

Also, if you’re in Japan and want to meet up for an Asahi, let me know and we can try to work something out.

All suggestions will be read and appreciated.


– Christopher