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Alethea & Athena
Back from Japan 
8th-Sep-2016 05:27 pm
tadah
We are back from Japan! Tadah! It occurs to me that if we'd bothered to post last night, we could have posted a review for Review Rednesdays, but we didn't, so oh well. It looks like we've only had one book come out the last two Tuesdays, so maybe it's okay that we missed two in a row.

Anyway, we had a fantastic time, even if it was a little short. Traveling is so hard, because there's so much to do at our destination, but we still worry about our cat. We're either going to have to work out a better system or figure out how to just not worry about it so much. But soon-ish before we left, someone on Facebook posted something about how dogs' lives are so much shorter than people's that when you leave them alone for a long time, it's that much bigger a portion of their lives so you should really not do that so much. And I know it was probably talking to people who get pets and then spend all their time out doing stuff and only come home to sleep, but still. The other option, of course, is to stop traveling, but that hardly seems like a good idea.

And I'm rambling because we're still not fully recovered from that long plane ride and stuff.

So let's just get to the report. About a week ago Tuesday, our good friend lyschan arrived, and we went to pick her up at Downtown Disney. We wanted to do some last minute shopping, so we finished that up, and then we all trekked back to our apartment. But on the way back, we passed by Denny's, and since restaurants are a great way to make sure people are fed (as opposed to figuring out what of our limited tastes will appeal to guests), we stopped in. They had peanut butter cup pancakes, so that turned out to be a great idea (at least for Athena and me).

When we got home, we showed off some of our stuff like our hydraulic robot arm, and we watched a bunch of Noragami stuff, like the murder mystery episode of the anime and the seiyuu event. And then we realized that since our flight left before eight in the morning, the shuttle wanted to pick us up at like three, so we had to go to bed. Then we woke up in the middle of the night and embarked on the long journey to Tokyo. The journey itself was mostly unremarkable, except for some confusion in finding the right terminal, and getting from Narita Airport to our hotel. Checking into the hotel is always a little scary, because they ask to look at your passport, and for some reason I find that very intimidating. But then we got to our rooms, and it was all okay.

The rooms themselves were tiny, which, I realized, is why we had to book two. The bed is surrounded on three sides by the hotel walls and window, and there's not a lot of space between the window and the desk to move around in. But I liked it, because it reminded me of the kinds of clubhouses and fortresses we made as kids. And! there were origami cranes on the bed, on top of the yukata-y robes. (Later, as we left the hotel one morning, we walked by the housekeeping staff's big bag full of origami cranes, so then it seemed a little less personal and friendly, but the fact remains that somebody had to fold those things.)

We were tired from the trip, but our days were numbered and we still had time before bed (we've heard that the secret to defeating jet lag is to stay up until midnight at your destination, no matter what; we didn't do that, but we did want to go to bed at a more bedtime-like hour), so after a quick stop at our favorite Ikebukuro KFC, we headed over to Animate to do some shopping. As usual, Athena and I mostly window-shopped because we're always afraid to commit to buying things, but as soon as we saw the new omnibus release of Adachitoka's pre-Noragami series Alive, we had to buy it. But as per our fear of committing to buy things, we only bought volume one, even though they had through three.

The next day was the Big Day. The main thing that motivated us to go to Japan was the Noragami art show, so of course we were going to do that, but we had even bigger plans that came later that day. But first, the Noragami art show.

...There's not a whole lot to say about that, because it was mostly a visual experience. They had lots of stuff on display, though. Naturally, they had many (maybe all?) of the manga covers on display, and the frontispiece art, and they had several pages of manuscript from the manga, including our very favorite picture of Yato holding Sekki across his face so that Yukine's eyes appear where Yato's would be (I don't know if that sounds as cool in description as it is to see, so just wait until volume seventeen comes out and you can see how awesome it is). Oh! and the entrance to the art show had a giant print of the art that they used to promote the show (Yato at a shrine surrounded by Capyper figurines), which had been autographed by Adachitoka! And not only that, but Sensei had drawn a picture of Yato with his yurufuwa forming wings, and next to him there was a parade of Capypers! And the last one in the parade had taken his head off to reveal that Koto was inside, and he was yelling, "Yabokuuu!" And we were like, "Oh, you're evil!"

There were also some other art pieces for merchandise and, for example, a really neat picture of Yato wielding Hanki (Tomone) from when Monthly Shonen Magazine published the first chapter of the series. There was also a series of pictures from a 2014 school calendar that we really wished we could have gotten, but it was before we were working on the series, so we had no way of knowing it existed. It had a super cute picture of Bishamon wearing Kazuma's glasses, and they were both drawn as teenagers wearing school uniforms.

So we looked at the art and we took pictures of everything, but before that, since there were a bunch of people taking a long time looking at the art and we didn't want to rush them, we headed over to the Noragami Only Shop, and bought a bunch of merchandise! I kind of wanted to just pick up one of everything and put it in our basket, but again with the not wanting to commit to buying things--especially expensive things like Yato sweatsuits even if they were really cool looking and seemed like they would fit. (That reminds me, they also displayed the character costumes from the Noragami stage play, which all looked very cool.) So we bought one of almost everything, and four acrylic keychains. They were sold grab bag style, so there was no telling who we would get! So naturally we had to raise the odds of getting our favorites.

They also had an area set up where you could write messages to Adachitoka, so we took advantage. We thought about saying, "We love the series, and we're not just saying that because it makes us money!" because that's the kind of joke you can expect from Noragami, but in the end we didn't want to risk being potentially insulting in a context where we couldn't explain ourselves, so we didn't. But we did say we love the series.

On the way into the Noragami art show, we saw ads for another event that was happening in the same building--they had a bunch of super fancy pop-up books on display (and also on sale). So we took some time to look at those, and we almost bought a couple, because they had a couple of pop-up books based on the original Little Mermaid and the original Beauty and the Beast, and they were amazing and each page seemed to have several pop-up books inside it. But then we noticed the price, and the fact that the artist wasn't Japanese, so we made a mental note of who made them (Robert Sabuda) so we could check Amazon or somewhere later and maybe get them either for a lower price or after we've had some time to rebuild our funds.

We made our way back to the hotel, stopping by a convenience store for some victuals, then took a break before it was time for our Big Plans. It was really hot and humid in Tokyo, so we wanted to cool off and recover. That's when we opened up all our keychains to see who all we got. Athena and I got Ebisu (middle-aged man version), the stray, Kazuma, and Tenjin, and lys got Tenjin, the stray, Bishamon, Kazuma, and Kofuku (I think; correct us if we're wrong, lys, unless for some reason you don't want anybody to know). Then we realized we were running a little late, so we had to rush out for our Big Plans. Fortunately, our appointment was for two-ish, so we hope they weren't too upset when we showed up a little after two instead of a little before.

So what were our big plans? Well, some of you may remember that we met a Kodansha editor at Anime Expo in July. ...Okay, so technically we met up with several Kodansha editors in July, but the one I'm referring to is the editor of Noragami for Monthly Shonen Magazine at Kodansha in Japan. He asked us to look him up next time we went to Japan, so we did, and together we arranged to have a tour of the Kodansha offices! This was very exciting, although I feel like I'm not really conveying the extent of the excitement. I'm tired, is my excuse. Also, it seems like the kind of thing that is over-the-top exciting for us, but not necessarily exciting at all for anybody else we know, except for, like, lys, who was there with us.

Anyway, we had been given specific instructions on how to get to the Kodansha offices from Ikebukuro station (since that's where the art show was), so we followed them...and still got lost, but by no fault of the instructions. They specifically told us to go to the 26-story building outside the station, and we walked toward the shorter building instead. The shorter building was actually the old Kodansha offices, and despite being short, it was done in an old architectural style with stone and columns, and was very grand and imposing. It also had posters for things like the Your Lie in April movie, which may have served as a distraction toward finding the correct, 26-story building.

But eventually we put ourselves in the right direction, and fortunately our tour guide was waiting for us in the lobby...or unfortunately, considering the fact that we were late. He didn't seem upset, though. He was joined by Kodansha's international liaison, whom we'd also met at Anime Expo, but only very very briefly. She said, "Do you remember meeting me at AX?" and we were glad to be able to honestly answer yes. I did not add that I didn't remember her name (I did think about saying it later, but I never got the chance), but it was okay, because she handed us each a business card.

They took us to the reception desk to check us in, where the liaison filled out a form and the receptionists handed us little number tags to clip on to our clothes. I asked if I could take a picture of the number tags, and they laughed good-naturedly and said of course. I realized later that I never asked if I could take a picture with anybody. I'll have to maybe fix that next time.

Anyway, after that it was time for the tour to commence!

...But I think I'm done typing for now, so more on that later. For now, just take my word for it that it was awesome, and look forward to more details tomorrow! (Or not, if you're not interested. But whether you're interested or not, I'm pretty sure the reporting of it will at least be mildly amusing.)


Today I'm thankful for another lovely trip to Japan, getting to go to the Noragami art show, making it to the hotel without too much trouble, making it home safely, and being back with our dear Page.
Comments 
9th-Sep-2016 02:24 am (UTC)
Yay!!! I can verify that all these things really happened because I got to be there too!! And it was indeed so very awesome! And you remembered correctly about my acrylic keychains (Tenjin x2) ...that I later ended up losing. Alas, alack... (I'll get over it eventually. Being with my cats is helping, and remembering all the other happy things is also helping!)

Hahaha, I was satisfied with my Denny's experience too! It's also interesting to compare to Japanese Denny's (sorry for skipping ahead). They weren't really anything alike. ...or maybe they were alike (at least, based on what I ate) in the genre of food they were providing for their markets? Home-style meals, I guess?

I can understand your sensitivity and concerns about leaving Page behind to travel. It is hard, especially when you can't know how a pet is handling your absence back home (or when you have reason to believe it really does stress them out). But I know you are very good and loving cat owners and surely Page is a happier cat for being able to spend most days with you (since you work from home) :) And getting new life experiences and challenges through traveling is a good thing too!
9th-Sep-2016 03:22 am (UTC)
Yay, verification! We thought you got two Tenjins, but we were like, "She got five...didn't she?" and I figured since I had listed Tenjin, it could cover both of them if necessary.

Yes! I almost skipped the whole Denny's thing, because I was like, "Eh, it was unremarkable (except to people who might, for example, really want peanut butter cup pancakes)," but then I remembered that we went to one in Japan, too, partly for comparison. There will be more details on that later, of course. I think you're probably right about the genre of food thing, since Denny's is one of the chains that represents "fami-res". Of course, I think family restaurant refers to a dining/service style more than a food style, but it might be both?

Aww, thanks for the encouragement about Page. She's been sticking to us like glue all day, except for when she went out onto the patio (also something she surely has been missing), and one brief time where she was more comfortable on the partly folded hide-a-mat. I'm sure we'll work out some way to reconcile cat ownership and travel.
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