Tokyo Video: December 2019

A few weeks ago I compiled some of my video clips from our last trip to Japan (December 2019) into a 30 minute video. It’s a chronological mashup of many of the sights and sounds that we experienced on our trip, which took place mainly in Tokyo this time.

I hope that you will enjoy this video, which features dancing, singing, a Pokemon cafe, some cute dogs, amazing food, Sailor Scouts, robots, cram-packed stores, shrines and temples, kawaii monster girls, karaoke, mochi-pounding, snakes, and much more.

And even after my second trip to Japan, I am again dreaming of my return. Someday! ❤

If you’d like to see the videos from our last trip to Japan (2017) in which we traveled more broadly, check out this post.

Or, if you would like to read the detailed day-by-day blogs from our trips, they start here (2017) and here (2019).

Thanks for stopping by!

Healing Routines In A Time of Anxiety: Animal Crossing

It’s been a crazy week in a month that is flying by and a year that nobody was expecting. The world is on edge with the coronavirus threat, people are hoarding toilet paper (?) and while many of us are preparing to spend more time at home than we’re accustomed to, others around the globe are putting their own lives at risk working extended hours to help keep this thing under control.

Some things will change suddenly- it’s unlikely, for example, that the cosplay project I’ve been working on will debut at Calgary Expo in April as planned, as I highly doubt that it will be safe enough by that point to have such a huge gathering of people in one place. My sister’s Worlds Cheerleading competition has been postponed, as have peoples’ trips, weddings, exams, surgeries, and other important events.

In a time when plans are being dashed, trips cancelled, work halted, and unprecedented stressful situations are unfolding daily, it is important to ensure we keep some normalcy in our day-to-day. It’s good for our mental health to have things to rely on, things to look forward to, things to distract us and give us some calming rituals and routines. For me, this will include activities like creating art, playing with my dogs, spending time with my husband, and reading. It will also include, in four days’ time, Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

It’s been a while since I’ve awaited a game so excitedly. In our current goings-on, a new Animal Crossing game is just what I need to give my brain a break from the constant Breaking News.

If you’ve never played an Animal Crossing game before, they are extremely easy to recommend to just about anyone. The family-friendly series is known for being popular with everyone, their mom, and their grandma! The irresistible recipe of customization, decorating, crafting, improving the community, and making cute little animal friends gets better and better with each new installment. New Horizons offers so many cool new features, like landscaping, that I can’t wait to try out.

Last year I got the chance to check out the new Nintendo store at Parco Shibuya!

Sometimes, when the real world feels crazy, it’s nice to have a gentle, encouraging, somewhat predictable little oasis to call your own. I hope that Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be that for myself and many others.

Happy gaming everyone, and stay safe!

Tokyo Memories, Day 17: Last-chance Shopping in Akiba, and Sailor Moon Shining Dinner Theater! Plus Day 17.5 (departure day)

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it! (Or, start with day 1 here!)

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 17, December 30th, 2019

Our last full day, and what a day! Early in the morning I set out for Akihabara which was PACKED with muggles people- maybe because there was a big Comiket this past weekend? Anyone who travelled to go to Comiket would surely want to visit Akiba, too, so it would make sense. I went to Radio Kaikan to check out the dolls and doll supplies on the 7th floor. I bought the parts to make a partner for the gothic doll I created from my last trip in 2017!

After braving the full-to-bursting Radio Kaikan, I got conveyor sushi at Aburi again and also checked out the Aki-Oka Artisan area, which was fancy and had a cool vibe.

Then, I headed to AzabuJuuban to meet up with Dustin and go to the Sailor Moon Shining Princess dinner theatre show! We walked around a bit until our reservation at 6:30. We got seats right in front! The resturaunt is very cute, with costumes on display and an upstairs room with ADORABLE merch (totally overpriced, but adorable…). The Sailor Moon jewelry is stunning, but $$$$$! We did get to keep our Sailor Moon dinner plates and drink coasters, though!

Anyhoo, we got our drinks (Dustin: Sailor Mercury blue alcopop. Me: luna latte) and our food (Dustin: Usagi’s Omelette. Me: Sailor Jupiter’s Pasta).

Our food and drinks were pretty good… however, like the Robot Resturaunt, nobody is really going for the food… it’s the show!

***Spoilers of the Dinner Show- Scroll to the video to skip!***

The show started with Luna on screen telling us that the Negaverse is up to no good >.< Each Sailor Scout got their own battle sequence, and lots of effects were used, like lazers, shadow screens, smoke, and so on.

At one point (During Rei’s fire sequence) I suddenly started crying!? I guess the Moon Prism Power of nostalgia washed over me. Today being our last day also probably had something to do with it… lots of pent up emotion.

The plot continued- the Sailor Scouts defeated the evil, except for Usagi, who slept through the entire thing! So, now that Tokyo is safe, the scouts show us the sights of Tokyo, and they basically visited all of the places we visited on this trip, so of course my tears kept flowing… for Harajuku there were jfashion dancers, and Asakusa was “festival time” so the Scouts got drums and other percussion instruments and played them on stage.

Then, Luna comes back and says “Oh no! A dark force is here and *gasp* it’s even stronger than before! Strong enough to destroy Tokyo– or even the entire WORLD! And so of course the Scouts come together to banish it.

One of the best parts was when Tuxedo Mask was overtaken by the baddies- they encapsulated him in a green lazer cage and he fell to the ground. When he rose he was under their spell and tried to attack Sailor Moon, slapping and choking her, slashing her down. She collapsed, and all of the other Scouts were down around her too, just like the end of the first arc of the series, she heard their voices and it inspired her to come back, and it was a happily ever after.

Then Luna announced a mini-show would start and that we could now take pictures and video- I got some great shots, and the entire theme song dance routine!

Then the Scouts and Tuxedo Mask walked around each table, waving and posing for pics.

I really enjoyed it, and Dustin said he liked it too! ❤

Day 17.5, December 31st, 2019

Today I write in black like my deep, dark soul! Oh, tormented with dismay at this tragic day.

Jk. We had a wonderful trip. ❤ Today we packed and checked out, and loaded our luggage onto the Airport Limo Bus. We are now crammed onto our first plane and wishing we could just conk out and wake up at home… or back in Tokyo! Seriously excited to see the doggos, and Dad.

Today before we left I did manage to visit a cool store called Stellaworth- somehow I hadn’t ever gone there before, but it was mentioned in the Otome Guide pamphlet I found at Sunshine City.

Japan, I love you. Rest assured, I will be back some day. Count on me. ❤

-Shauna

Tokyo Memories, Day 16: Pounding New Year’s Mochi With Friends, and More Karaoke!

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it! (Or start with day 1 here!)

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 16, December 29th, 2019

Another packed day full of adventures ❤

Dustin and I met up with Maika at Tokyo Guest House Nakano, a place that she stayed at for a while previously. We took our shoes off in the entrance and donned some communal house-slippers, then took the stairs up to the common room where a ton of people were gathered. We joined the group in making mochi for New Year’s celebrations!

First, white rice and hot water is added to a giant hollowed out stump mortar called a usu (theirs is 80 years old!) and then two pestles called kine are twisted against the rice. The rice gradually becomes gummier and more paste-like, and is folded against itself again and again.

Next, we take turns pounding the mochi! The kine need to be wet every so often, and someone keeps folding the mochi at intervals.

Then the mochi is taken out and carried quickly inside to the kitchen table where clean, floured hands roll the mochi balls and add fillings/mix-ins like edamame paste, and wrap with nori.

Fresh mochi is so yummy! Making mochi with everyone was a very special experience that we feel lucky to have had the chance to enjoy.

There was a cute toddler there with his family and he watched his grandfather pound the mochi with the giant kine, yelling “Ojiisan! Gambatte!!!” (Grandfather, you’ve got it/good luck!) The kid also began talking to me and randomly singing “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” with me! Adorable.

Thanks for inviting us Maika-san! And thanks for having us, Tokyo Guest House Nakano!

After we said our farewells, I went to another Karaoke meetup group! Dustin didn’t want to go >.< but I sang my heart out for 4 hours! This karaoke place, Cote D’Azur near Gotanda station, didn’t have unlimited slushies like the other one, but it was FANCY! It had a stage, huge screens on all 4 walls, party lights, and an excellent sound system.

We sang so much, even a few more duets, and I think I sang the most powerfully in my life. They said that “my song” is White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane!

Then we were hungry from all the singing, and Hayato, the organizer, invited me to a Japanese chain resturaunt, Ootoya, where we had nabe hot-pot and matcha ice cream. Yummmmm.

Tomorrow is our last day before we leave on the 31st 😦 this has been such a whirlwind couple of weeks, I don’t want it to end and yet I feel satisfied that I’ve lived every moment to the fullest. I miss Teegs and Butter, and everyone back home too… I do love Japan so much, though, I don’t think I will ever get over my love of this place!

Check out day 17, Last Chance Shopping in Akiba and Sailor Moon Dinner Theater, here!

Tokyo Memories, Day 15: Karaoke with Strangers, Taemin in Yokohama

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it! (Or start with day 1 here!)

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 15, December 28th, 2019

AHHH what a day! My feet hurt so bad that I fantasized about chopping them off with a guillotine, but honestly today was worth it!

I started off the day meeting up with a meetup.com group I had joined a while back called “Let’s Release Ourselves By Singing Karaoke Together!”. After getting lost (nothing new there) I found the place across from Ikebukuro station on the 2nd floor. The group was patiently sitting waiting for me >.< There were 7 of us- myself, one other woman, and 5 men, including the organizer Rin. Rin collected our karaoke fees and separated us into two groups which we would rotate in and out of later on (more chances to sing with a smaller group!) We grabbed some of the unlimited drinks- unlimited slushies!!!??? and headed to the rooms.

Everyone was quite good at singing! Most of the songs they sang were new to me, but I did recognize the song from Your Name, and one guy sang a Linkin Park song. I sang Linger (Cranberries), White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane), Just a Girl (No Doubt), Maps (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and My Medicine from the Nana movie! I’d been practicing that one in the car, and I was so glad to see it was an option to sing with the karaoke system. Right after I sang it, a man sang another song from the Nana film!

The highlight of today’s karaoke experience had to be when a man joined our room and asked me “A whole new world?”- I was like “InuYasha?” thinking he meant the song Brand New World, but then he put on Aladdin’s Whole New World and handed me the second mic! I hadn’t heard that song in a long time, so I was rusty, but I caught on (luckily he started the song) and it was so much fun!

I even managed to record some of our duet! Thank you for singing with me ^_^

Then, I bid my new friends farewell and went back to the station. With the aid of Google Maps, I took an unneccessarily roundabout trip to Yokohama Arena, involving 25 minutes of walking through a ritzy residential area where I got a lot of stares…

Finally, at Yokohama Arena, I joined the GINORMOUS lineup of people (99% women) waiting to get into Taemin’s concert!

I waited in line for ~2 hours, standing and wishing I’d worn better shoes. I also couldn’t get over how well the crowds self-organized without dividers or ropes, winding effortlessly into neat curving ribbons: a similar approach in Canada with that many people would have ended up with a giant mosh-pit of frustrated fans (just thinking about it is giving me flashbacks to the Hallyu North fiasco… I’m so glad SHINee came back to Canada after that mess o.o)

ANYWAY, I finally made it to the doors and got my QR code on my phone scanned (for a short time I thought the app wouldn’t work for me and I was in a panic, but I realized that it only worked when my phone was set to Japanese language settings!) and I got my ticket- seat “centre, 15-15”. I thought, wow, that sounds like such a good seat?!

I joined another line, for the women’s washroom, and finally after that headed for my seat. Unbelieving, I made sure confirm with an aisle-helper, and… yeah, no, WOW. I got an AMAZING seat! The arena is HUGE, but I was 15 rows away from the main stage and right by the catwalk! I couldn’t believe my luck! The tickets are randomly assigned when the QR code is scanned, and I won the jackpot!

I exclaimed “II SEKI, NE!? (GREAT SEATS, EH!?)” to the woman seated beside me, and we fangirled together a bit.

When the lights went down and I was immersed in the Pearl Aqua Ocean, it was just beautiful.

(This was just before the concert started- look at that beautiful ocean of Shawol!)

Taemin was fantastic, he and all of his dancers were so energetic, the SFX and tech were the fanciest I think I’ve ever seen- lazers, moving spotlights, a motorized slanting stage with harnesses for aerial tricks, a raising area, long catwalk, explosions, fire bursts, streamers, so awesome.

Some highlights:

  • He said that with the return of the members in 2020, SHINee will be up to something new to look forward to!
  • He sang a new song! Very slow and loving.
  • A new comeback album is on the way
  • A male fan screamed TAEMINNNNNN!!!! and he said “Yes. I am Taemin.” :3
  • “INTO THE RHYTHM” WAS SO GOOD LIVE AND HE DID SO MUCH AEGYO, AHH!! I have always loved Into The Rhythm but I also think of it as the cutest Taemin song ever now~!
  • “One By One” really made use of the angled stage and harnesses
  • When it was time for encore we chanted “LEE TAEMIN, DAISUKE! LEE TAEMIN, DAISUKE!”
  • He sang Pretty Boy, Danger, and Ace!
  • HOLY WATER– HOLY WATERRRRRRRR– HO-LY-WA-TER-HOLY WATERRRRRRRRRR!
  • When he walked down the catwalk stage, he was so close
  • I GOT TO SEE “MOVE” LIVE! AHH!
  • The last thing he said (in Japanese): “I hope you had a beautiful time like I did. See you all again very soon!”

I feel so lucky to have had the chance to attend this concert, in Japan, in such a great seat!

P.S.- PART OF “SHERLOCK” WAS USED AND EVEN PART OF THE DANCE, AND KEY’S “GIVE IT UP FOR SHINEEEEE!!!” LINE! I WAS SO SURPRISED, I CHEERED SO LOUD!

P.S.S.- I caught a streamer! It says something like “Taemin 2nd Concert 1001101: We are very happy to be able to spend the end of the year together! Let’s stay together!”

Final note: A huge thank you to @enzeru_no_innen for your extremely helpful post on how to make a SHINee World J account and get my ticket for the concert! I couldn’t have done it without you! ❤ I love our international Shawol family!

Check out day 16, Pounding New Year’s Mochi With Friends, and More Karaoke, here!

Tokyo Memories, Day 14: Yanaka Ginza, Ameyoko, and Kindness at Nippori Textile Street

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it! (Or start with day 1 here!)

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 14, December 27th, 2019

Today we checked out Yanaka Ginza and enjoyed a bit of street food: yakitori and croquettes, mmm. I got a couple of personal hanko stamps made, too!

My hanko!

Then we went to Ameyoko, where I got blissfully lost in the giant Yamashiroya toy store. The Ameyoko walk was so crowded that we were pretty much swept up in the wave, but we did manage to dip into a restaurant for some hamburger omurice and melon soda floats.

I also visited Nippori Textile Street today (well, first I got lost and ended up in a quiet and beautiful cemetery).

Textile street has so much lovely fabric, lace, jewelry-making items, embroidered patches, etc., it’s overwhelming! I got a few bits and bobs, but it was getting late.

I was expecting warm weather, but with gale wind and the evening chill I was actually quite cold, and moreso just annoyed at all of the whispered well-meaning “Samuii! Gaijin samuii!!?? (isn’t that foreigner cold!?!) I was getting again, so when I spotted some shawl-sweaters on sale outside a shop I tried one on and promptly went to buy it.

Cute, and also on sale for a really good price! ❤

When the staff member went to bag it I said “Oh, no please, I’ll wear it out… it’s a little cold…” Suddenly, as if they had just wholly noticed my existence, she and the two other women in the shop (a customer and another staff) began fawning over me and tut-tutting, touching my open-lace sleeves and remarking things like “ehhhh! samuii!!!!” getting me to step into the sweater and rubbing it over my arms. One of the staff reached behind the counter and grabbed an instant-heat patch, exclaiming “Heat! Ok?!” I nodded and thanked her many times as she lifted my new shawl-sweater up with a “Hen, ne!? Gomen!” or something like that, meaning something along the lines of “sorry for being weird lifting up your shirt like this!” and she stuck the patch on my back. To be honest, I didn’t really feel much heat coming from it, but the gesture warmed my heart more than I can say.

They asked me where I was from and how I could stand the cold so much, and when I said Canada they “aaaahh”ed knowingly. They bowed to me as I left and saw me out the door. ❤

Lastly I swooped through Uniqlo on my way back to the hotel, finding a few quirky printed shirts, and got some laundry done again (no easy feat when everyone is waiting for a dryer >.<)

I waited in a big line for these amazing cheese tarts at Ikebukuro station as well ❤

Check out day 15, Karaoke With Strangers & Taemin in Yokohama, here!

Tokyo Memories, Day 13: Traditional and Whimsical Shopping in Tokyo

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it! (Or, start with day 1, here!)

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 13, December 26th, 2019

Today Dustin was very tired, so I decided to scout out a few places that are scattered around less touristy areas of Tokyo. I did a LOT of walking today, and have a blister the size of a toonie on my left foot >.<

My first stop was Bingoya Folk Crafts, a multi-floor shop filled with interesting handiworks. I was specifically looking for temari balls (an internet search led me to Bingoya!) so I picked up a few, as well as some cards and wooden toys. This shop was out of the way but very worth a visit.

I next visited Japan Traditional Craft Aoyama Square, which is near the Canadian Embassy and also had a variety of unique and interesting handicrafts made with care.

And finally, Kaleidoscope Mikashi-Kan, definitely the most unusual and niche shop I’ve ever visited in Japan (maybe anywhere): Kaleidoscopes of all shapes, sizes, styles, and price ranges. The staff was very helpful, instructive, and kind. He showed me how to use some of the more unusual kaleidoscopes. I purchased a small teleidoscope, a mini telescope-kaleidoscope necklace, and a larger two-mirror system dry-chamber scope featuring rainbow 8 point image by Tamoo Hosono. So beautiful! VERY different and much more mesmerizing than those plastic dollar-store “kaleidoscopes” I played with when I was a kid.

After recharging at the hotel with Dustin I tried to go to a karaoke bar in Shinuya (Pasela Station) where you can sing with live musicians, but it was closed for a private event, so instead I explored the big Tower Records. Found some Kamijo DVDs and made sure the SHINee section was well stocked and faced!

I finished my day perusing the CanDo beside Ikebukuro station, as well as the massive DonQuiote, and getting some more souvenirs for folks back home.

Check out day 14, Yanaka Ginza, Ameyoko, and Kindness at Nippori Textile Street, here!

Tokyo Memories, Day 12: Christmas Cruise To Odaiba

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it! (Or, start with day 1 here!)

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 12, December 25th, 2019

Merry Christmas! Though, for our family and friends in Canada, it’s still Christmas Eve. We got up early this morning and took the trains to Asakusa. There, we arrived at the pier and got some frozen yogurt and drinks while we waited for our boat to arrive.

Our ride to Odaiba, the Hotaluna, was designed by Leiji Matsumoto, who we know most affectionately from Interstella 5555! Hotaluna has a very spaceship-like feel, and was a nice change of pace from the many trains.

We could see the ferris wheel, Fuji TV, Rainbow Bridge, and other landmarks from the boat. When we landed in Odaiba, we headed out right away for Teamlabs Borderless Digital Arts Museum. It’s a good thing we did, because later in the day we saw a MASSIVE lineup stretching down the street– we barely had to wait. 🙂

The lights museum was very cool, with various surfaces, rooms, and structures to explore. Some spots had interactive aspects, like creatures you could “squish” under your feet (illusions of light), and one room had people colouring in pages of Santa, reindeer, and cars, then scanning them and seeing their artworks come to life on the wall. LED lightstrips, lasers, beams, spotlights, mirrors, shadows- these and more were used for various effects. Lots of people trying to get the perfect selfie!

Hungry, we then wandered Venus Fort, a huge mall with an artificial sky, for lunch–we decided on yakiniku at a place called Toraji, which had wagyu beef on the menu. MAN, we had a great lunch. Bit on the expensive side o.o

Dustin then went to the Aquacity Cinema to see the new Star Wars movie, but I had heard of some old-fashioned candy stores and a retro arcade in DECKS, so I went off on my own in search of those. I saw some cool things in Aquacity and Decks: an entire store dedicated to the Nissin Chick, a large Godzilla statue, lots of couples fawning over eachother, and some unusual gatcha machines. One of them stole my 500 yen T-T I just wanted a giant pill bug! I found 3 different retro candy stores, and definitely got a bunch of new candies and snacks to try.

We used the free bus service to get around Odaiba, and when we were done we went back to the trains and stopped at 7&I on the way back to the hotel. I picked out some more snacks, sweets, and hot foods to try. The corn dogs, buns, and croquettes are so good!

Turn on the sound to hear Dustin waxing poetic about Star Wars, and me shocking myself when the condiment packet suddenly flings out of my hand XD

Check out day 13, Traditional and Whimsical Shopping in Tokyo, here!

Tokyo Memories, Day 11: A Christmas-Eve Date at Robot Resturaunt

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it! (Or start with day 1 here)

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 11, December 24th, 2019

Merry Christmas Eve in Tokyo! We slept in a bit today zzzZZZzzzZZZ At around 11 we set out for Shinjuku, where we went looking for clothes that might fit us. I went to Eur3 and Dusty to Suzutan. I found a couple of really cute things that fit me ❤

Then, we ducked into a random conveyor sushi place, where we had a cheap & quick lunch.

At 4pm we entered the Robot Resturaunt for the show I had pre-booked. Despite being a huge tourist-trap, I think it really surpassed both our expectations!

It’s called “Robot Resturaunt”, but you really go for the show, not the food. First we watched a “preshow”, which featured around a dozen acts and was about an hour of robots playing music (well, musicians in cool chrome Daft Punk-esque robo suits), an intense singer man in sunglasses, and dozens of girls in various costumes doing many different dances, from pop to rock, techno, modern, burlesque… the “preshow” was an impressive show of its own.

For the main show, we were directed to the basement level. The stairways are absolutely tricked out from top to bottom with crystals, paint, giant lizards, flashing lights, gold, silver, and every kind of bling. Definitely the most “extra” place I’ve ever been. Before the show started, I bought an (overpriced) flashing lightbulb drink (lemon flavored).

The show was broken into 3 parts. The first act featured fights between rival robots and costumed heroes. Dragons, demons, drummers, warriors, cute, cool, and crazy robots.

Act 2 was a Christmas special featuring a strange storyline- well, the story isn’t so strange, but the 3 main characters are an island girl, a hyena woman, and a pirate, and their paths cross without much explanation… OH WELL, visually it was stunning, regardless. Christmas trains, lights, a giant inflatable Rudolph, handsome hyena men, lots of dancing, and tons of music stolen from various franchises! XD We heard music from:

  • Shrek
  • The 5th Element
  • High-School Musical
  • The Mask
  • and probably others I forgot

The last act started with a sort of ode to the nations of the world, with Michael Jackson’s face dominating the panoramic screen (We Are the World playing) and costumes and props bearing flags from various countries. Then, it turned into a hodgepodge of random robots- a collossal duck that blinks and chomps? Why not? A freakish rainbow doll riding a bike? Sure!

We (everyone in the audience) were given lightsticks for the final act, and waved them around without direction, using reckless abandon. Performers handed and/or threw marshmallow candies to the audience- I got one! Thanks, Shark Boy!

It was a really fun show.

Sitting in the Robot Resturaunt throne

We stopped at the supermarket at Higashi Ikebukuro for some drinks, pudding, and chicken (Christmas Eve in Tokyo requires chicken!) and exchanged our presents to eachother back at the hotel room. Dustin got me some adorable and subtle Pikachu earings from the Pokemon centre! ❤

Check out day 12, Christmas Cruise to Odaiba, here !

Tokyo Memories Day 10: Tebori Handpoke Tattoo with Horimitsu

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it! (Or, start with day 1 here)

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 10, December 23rd, 2019

My tattoo with Horimitsu started at 12, and was at his studio in Ikebukuro within walking distance from Sunshine City. As such, I left at 11:30 to give myself plenty of time- even still, when I reached the tagged spot on Google Maps, I couldn’t tell which building was Horimitsu’s. I found a wooden structure with some signage and a doorbell, but Google Translate didn’t really tell me what it said. I thought, well, this is mainly a residential area, so maybe it’s Horimitsu, or a business that can direct me to him.

Street-view from a skywalk

I rang the buzzer and waited. A hunched, tired looking old man answered, standing in his dark entrance, and I knew right away this was not Horimitsu’s studio… I blurted “Horimitsu desu…ka…?” and the man sort of smiled and said “ah… Horimitsu…san…” and beckoned me to follow him. He hobbled along with his back bent at an improbable angle, heaving himself up the couple of steps to the building across the street. Tucked there in a corner was a door covered in cool stickers. He told me to knock. Soon, Horimitsu answered amidst my desperate apologies to this kind old man: “Doumo sumimasen! Gomennasai! Totemo gomennasai, doumo arigatou gozaimashita!!!” The man told Horimitsu something, probably like “she knocked on my door so I took her to you” with a bit of a smile (likely translation? “another damn gaijin mistook my business for your tattoo place, jeez…!”)

After apologies from Horimitsu, I entered, and he bid me sit on his couch, where a coffee table sat covered in tattoo magazines, including the one featuring John Mayer on the cover with his Horimitsu tattoo on full display.

Master Horimitsu was quiet, charming, and knew quite a lot of English. We decided on the placement of my tattoo and he began with the linework, which is done with a regular tattoo gun. Right before starting he said “Okay… starting… prepare… my tattoo hurts more than other tattoos!” ok thanks, got it… ^-^’

His linework was indeed thick and a tad painful at times, but I think I did okay aside from a few grimaces. As he worked on my arm, we listened to Christmas jazz & chill music, and I gazed up at his impressive wall of stencils from previous tattoo designs.

After a while, maybe 45 minutes, he said “Hai. Tebori ne” and started tebori (hand-poke) method just like that. Amazingly, it didn’t hurt any more than any other tattoo I’ve had! I could hear the needles puncturing my skin again and again, but it wasn’t bad.

We chatted on and off through my tattoo- about Japanesed tattoo laws and the current court cases, Japanese food, Canadian weather and seasons, our pets, Dustin, teaching English in Japan, onsen etiquette, all kinds of things. He is a very accomplished and impressive man, but also very humble and kind. ❤ I gave him some maple candies, a card, and a magnet with my designs, and he thanked me.

The tattoo was over in just 2 hours! It really does capture the energy and cuteness of Tegan!

You can see my arm was breaking out- I think I was a bit too liberal with applying the creams to my other new tattoos >.<

I said my goodbyes to Horimitsu, and as I was standing outsite setting up my GPS directions he dashed out of the studio, patted my shoulder and said farewell once more, and ran across the road towards the old man’s house/business. I feel certain he was giving the man a gift (he had something in his hand) in apology for my earlier intrusion!

I walked a bit to the Ikebukuro Ichiran Ramen, where I enjoyed another bowl of delicious tonkatsu (no waiting in line this time!) and laughed at the bathroom that had something like 12 toilet paper dispensers mounted to the wall- you won’t run out of TP at this Ichiran!

I took a couple of detours before heading back to the hotel, spending a considerable amount of time browsing at Animate, where I bought some vampire comics and BluRay musicals. I also stopped at the Gakuen cafe for a drink or two and met a couple of nice girls from New Zealand, and chatted for a bit.

Later on, back at the hotel, Dusty and I enjoyed a great assortment at the buffet on the basement floor. The dinner spread was elegant and fancy, but my favorite was the dessert- cakes, squares, and soft-serve ice cream, plus a chocolate fountain!

Now I am doing laundry on the 6th floor and tidying up our hotel room -_- zzZZZzzzZZZ

Check out day 11, A Christmas-Eve Date at Robot Restaurant, here!