Alethea & Athena (double_dear) wrote,
Alethea & Athena
double_dear

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Back to life again

Whew, we're finally recovered after our last post, which really means that we've finished with work. Happily, we still managed to finish early, despite a radical decrease in ability to focus after that last post. We found out that Toshihiko Seki was coming to AX when we went to the forums and saw a thread called "Toshihiko Seki." The post was made before the official announcement was posted at the forums, but whether it was there when we got to the forums or not, we didn't see it. We saw the other, unofficial thread. I thought it might just be somebody saying, "Hey, they should get this guy!" again, but there was only one post. It had a little bio of Seki-san, a smiley, and an exclamation point. And it was made by a staffer. So we were like, "Does this mean he's coming? Does this mean he's coming!? DOES THIS MEAN HE'S COMING!?"

Athena managed to keep her head enough to say, "Let's check Anime News Network." (Sometimes they get the announcements before the AX page does.) So we did, and there it was. And then brain function ceased. Proper brain function anyway. After we posted on LJ, we tried to get back to work and realized that we couldn't focus at all. So we got juice instead, and then we went back to work.

But this is crazy awesome! He's probably our favoritest seiyuu they've gotten so far. We actually already own stuff we want him to sign! And the best part is we already have costumes from our favorite things he's in! This is extremely happy, because we like to dress up for our favorite guests, and we're so super super busy that I don't know if I'll have time to make new costumes. So much yayness.

Also, the heat wave went away today, we finished another translation, and this should be the last day spending an hour writing about our trip to Japan. Not that I mind writing trip reports, just that this one's been going on for twice as long as the trip itself, and with us working like crazy enough as it is, it'll be nice to have a little bit more free time on weekdays.

So back to the report.

Sunday night was the night we decided to try watching some late night anime, also known as UHF anime. The main reason for this is that, while there were several anime serieses going on that we would have liked to see, we forgot to look up any air schedules (we really should have picked one up at the Tokyo Anime Center). But there were Nabari no Ou posters at Animate and other places that listed air times for different regions, so we knew that that one would be on late Sunday night. Unfortunately, we forgot to check for sure, but then again that might not have done us any good, since the schedules are sometimes shifted for hotels, and for holidays.

But Clay had told us most anime is on at six in the evening or two at night, so we decided to shoot for two o'clock. Of course, there was always the option of staying up as late as we could, but I think it's already been determined that that wasn't very late. So we went to bed at like ten or eleven and set my DS alarm for a little before two, so we'd have time to find the channel and stuff. We got a few hours of sleep, and when the alarm went off, I discovered that I had picked up a soar throat. Well, there was nothing for it, so we just turned on the TV and started flipping through channels. And when we got to TV Tokyo we saw... the end credits of Nabari no Ou. Dang it. Oh well, what's on next? Neo Angelique? Sweet!

So we watched Neo Angelique and were very amused when all the Aube Hunters were harassed by screaming fangirls. And then we went back to sleep, because we were very tired people.

In the morning, Richard called and reported that of the two anime studios I told him we liked (Bones and Gonzo), he had managed to get a hold of Gonzo, but they were closed for the holiday. He said we could go anyway to see if anyone was there, because chances are someone would be, but we all decided we were too timid for that sort of thing, and we didn't really have our hearts set on it, so instead, he suggested we go to the Disney Store. We had heard that Japan has awesome Disney Stores, so we thought it was a great idea. He looked up the nearest ones and found out there were two in Ikebukuro, so that's where we headed. We went by ourselves because Richard had work, but by then we were used to the trains and we didn't have to make any transfers to get to Ikebukuro. The idea was we would wander around for a while, maybe check out Ginza and the Imperial Palace (all on the same line!), and at some point call Richard and see if we could meet up and do stuff together.

And so off we went to Ikebukuro! We got off at the Ikebukuro Seibu Station, which is not only very big, but has a giant department store built on top of it. Richard had told me on the phone that you could get lost in Japanese department stores, in the tone of voice that said they're so awesome you lose yourself, but I think in this case it was more literal. It was very very confusing. But it was okay, because we're good at wandering around, which we did, in great abundance. We found ourselves in all sorts of forests of merchandise, be it clothes or... mostly just clothes, but for different types. One floor we found ourselves on was like a convenience/grocery store, and they had pizza Pringles! Oh, pizza Pringles, how we have missed thee! But did we buy any? No. Because we're stupid. We realized our mistake and tried to find that floor again, but it was lost to us forever. (Or for that day at least.) Seriously, pizza Pringles alone are almost reason enough to go back to Japan.

We did eventually find the Disney Store. We figured this was the smaller one in the area, and it wasn't much different than our Disney Stores, except for the selection of merchandise. They had some really neat stuff, and I'm kind of sad that we didn't get any of those DS cover thingies. We thought about it, but I think there was the problem of, "But which ones!?" Yeah, that was probably it.

Well, we didn't want to carry stuff as we continued to wander around Ikebukuro, so we resolved to see what they had at the other Disney Store, and if we couldn't find it, we could always go back to the first one before leaving Ikebukuro. So we set off in the direction of Sunshine City, where, ironically, it was raining. It was a really neat place though. Kind of like City Walk by Universal Studios, but with more arcades. There was a movie theater (or two; I don't remember), and we thought about going to watch the new Detective Conan movie, but we ended up not for two reasons. One, I'm not sure if movie theaters work differently in Japan and I was afraid of messing something up and looking like an idiot, and two (and more valid), we were too busy wandering around to keep track of time.

We found ourselves at the Tokyu Hands department store. It was so weird because it was like an American department store I think maybe, only not somehow. Each floor had a different specialty, like toys and collectibles (the second floor was the one with all the Square-Enix figures), home decorating and furniture, sporting goods, craft stuff, and on the top was a pet store! They had chipmunks! They were so cute! We think that was the first time we'd seen real chipmunks, but we might have seen some when we went to Yosemite in eighth grade, so I don't know for sure.

We decided to come back later for one of the awesome Disney puzzles they had on sale, and continued our search for the other Disney Store. We crossed the street, turned a corner, and bam! there was Animate. So of course we went inside. This one was a good deal bigger than the one in Akihabara. We skipped the manga floors again and then! we saw the Nabari no Ou business card case we had failed to find before! But we didn't buy it quite yet, because we were still looking around. They had Harukanaru Toki no Nakade voice alarm clocks! I would have bought one on the spot except that they had two kinds--one for the guardians of heaven and one for the guardians of earth, which means that Eisen and Yasuaki are on different clocks. Rar!!

Of course we considered the possibility of buying both of them, but what are we going to do with two alarm clocks? And they were kind of expensive. That became especially significant when we found ourselves on the DVD floor. And there it was. The Burial OVA special editions that we were unable to get because they only sell them at Animate and we have as yet to find a way to order from Animate Japan online. We agonized for a while, because we already have the first two in standard edition (the third one's standard edition doesn't come out until like tomorrow), and each one was about a hundred bucks. So we went back down to the CD floor to think about it while we bought the Bus Gamer sound file and the Neo Angelique anime theme song single, and, despite being in the act of spending money, we decided to go for it and buy them all anyway. Because if we bought them and decided that we didn't want them, we could sell them to someone else, but if we didn't buy them and decided that we did want them, we'd have to wait until our next opportunity to go to Japan, and hope they were still on sale.

So we went back up and bought them (now we have another thing for Seki-san to sign!), and decided not to worry about alarm clocks. But man I want a voice alarm clock so bad! Maybe they'll have some at AX. Our we'll buy a CD alarm clock and make our own.

We bought some more stuff on the merchandise floor. Most of the stuff we bought in Akihabara's Animate was for other people; this time we were buying stuff for us (and a few things for people), including a Garyuu Wave (more commonly known in the States as Gavinners) necklace. And since we had so much stuff by then, we decided to hit the other places we'd already been and buy the stuff we saw there that we wanted. Back at the Disney Store, they were selling Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix +. We had decided while doing something here that if we saw it, we might have to buy it. We hesitated anyway, because we could always order it online, but how often would we get a chance to buy it in the Disney Store? They were having a campaign where you get a stamp for every thousand yen you spend, and when you get three stamps, you get a gift! And we had twelve stamps in one purchase! So we got four! The gifts were hidden in their packaging, so we had no idea what they were, but we decided we would leave ourselves in suspense, because we had a lot to carry already.

That's when we decided to go back to the hotel to unload. So we did that, and I called Richard when we got there, to see if he and Yoshi wanted to join us for wandering around the Imperial Palace. But his phone was busy, so we turned on the TV (it was about six o'clock! Anime time!) to watch something before trying again later. Yatterman was on, and it was pretty crazy. The bad guys were trying to kidnap Monta Mino (mentioned in volume 3 of Hockey Club), the Japanese equivalent of Regis Philbin (he even hosts the Japanese version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?). They had their big Team Rocket-esque car racing after him when who should show up but Speed Racer himself! The narrator came on and explained who he was, adding that he was going to be in a Hollywood movie, and then he used his car's buzz saws to saw the bad guys car in half.

Yatterman was going on for more than half an hour, and since we weren't too engrossed in it, and Richard's phone was still busy, we flipped channels to see if anything else was on and found Soul Eater. Soul Eater is probably the number one anime we've been wanting to see this season for two reasons. Mamoru Miyano♥ is in it, and it's directed by the same guy who directed Host Club. It was a pretty fun show, and we looked it up just now to discover that Soul is played by the kid who played Roxas! Riku and Roxas. Wow.

I finally got through to Richard, but by then it was raining pretty hard, so we decided to stay nice and warm in the hotel, and I thanked Richard profusely for being such a big help (I think more profusely than normal because it was one of those awkward moments where hanging up gets to be difficult). Later that night, they showed a special for the 25th anniversary of Tokyo Disneyland, which was pretty awesome. They had famous Japanese singers wandering around the parks singing Disney songs. They had Tatsuya Ishii sing A Whole New World with the woman who also sings Dreams (the Tokyo Disneyland 25th Anniversary theme song) with him, and I was like, "His voice is gorgeous, and his name is familiar. What else does he do so we can maybe get a CD?" (we failed to get the Dreams single when we were at Disneyland, alas.) So we checked and found out, oh yeah, he sings one of the ending themes to Gundam Seed! I don't like the style of that song as much though *pout*

About half an hour through, they switched focus and sang a bunch of Ghibli songs, so we heard the Totoro theme for the second time in our lives, and then they switched back to Disney so it was proven that the special really did include Disney and Ghibli, and didn't switch over to a different special halfway through. It was really awesome though. Most of the songs were in Japanese, and there was a bit with Morning Musume running around Toon Town singing the Mickey Mouse Club March. It's funny, because in Japan, they don't spell it out, they just sing, "Mic-key Mouse, Mic-key Mouse, Mic-key Mic-key Mouse!"

Also that night, we explored the hotel's gift shop and bought pizza potato chips that had real cheese. And salami bits that made them very very spicy. They also had kinoko no yama and takenoko no sato! And I'm still a little sad that we didn't buy any of the little teddy bears that were dressed up like the hotel staff. Maybe next time.

The next morning, we got up about the usual time, packed our bags (which was now a very interesting endeavor), and headed for the airport. Checkout was very easy, and while the lady at the desk worked with me for that, two other hotel people worked with Athena to get tickets for the limousine bus to the airport. It was all very efficient and awesome. And they were so friendly! Way more friendly than a lot of the hotel people we've dealt with here. I think Americans need to learn the concept of an "eigyou (professional) smile ." The weather was gorgeous and the drive to the airport was pleasant. The airport people were still a lot more friendly and less intimidating than people were at LAX when we flew out. We had arrived pretty early (when traveling, we get paranoid about making it to things on time), so we wandered around the airport a little and bought some snack bread and Pringles. But not pizza Pringles, sadly.

The flight back was alright. We watched Night at the Museum in Japanese, got what little sleep we could, and nine hours later, arrived in Los Angeles. We got our luggage, and as we walked toward the pay phones to call our ride home, I realized, "Oh crap, I still only have yen." I didn't have time to dwell on it though, because a very friendly lady came up and asked if we needed any help, where we were headed and how we planned to get there. I told her my realization and she immediately pulled out her cell phone and let me use it, and thus we were saved. She turned out to be... a missionary, we think? who was collecting funds for an organization to help children. We figure it's not our place to judge what charities are really using their money for (King Benjamin says so!), and she had just been a huge help getting us home, and I had about four thousand yen that wasn't gonna do us any good here, so I gave her a thousand yen for me and a thousand for Athena (she said they take all currencies), and we went outside to wait for our ride.

While we were waiting, another guy from the charity came around and I said we'd already donated, but gave him another thousand yen anyway. And we were left with one thousand yen as a souvenir! Plus all our millions of coins that Athena didn't donate all of to Unicef on the plane. So now we have American money, Canadian money, Japanese money, and when we got our rolls of quarters a while back, one of them had a coin from Barbados! Awesome!

Fortunately for us, our ride had been staying at his friend's house after a day at Disneyland (did I mention he has an annual pass? Anyway, he came down the day before because he wasn't sure when we were coming back because of the rescheduling and me being lame and not e-mailing him), so we didn't have to wait too long for him. We took his friend home (we guess he was in charge of giving directions to the airport from his house) and set off on our way. I told him about my sore throat, so when he made a short pit stop he bought me some vitamin water, which he will swear by, I'm sure of it. And it actually helped a lot, but didn't take the whole thing away, sadly. We talked a lot about Disneyland, and he said that if we got annual passes ourselves, he would drive us down there. This is an offer that is almost too good to pass up. If only we weren't so darn busy right now.

And then we had our greatest adventure for the whole trip! The car started vibrating, and then Something flew up past the windshield. The driver swore and pulled over. Apparently he had gotten in a fender-bender a couple of nights before which had left his right fender a little low--low enough to eventually tear the entire tread off his tire. When it all came off, so did the right fender, and that's what flew past the windshield. Fortunately, he has a Saturn, which is made of plastic instead of metal, because if it had been a metal fender, there could have been all sorts of problems. Being the good Boy Scout that he is, and happening to have his toolkit with him, he replaced the tire, and the rest of the trip was pretty uneventful.


And then we made it home, and you all know the rest. Tadah!

Wow, that ended up being kind of long. Ah well. Today I'm thankful for TOSHIHIKO SEKI IS COMING TO ANIME EXPO, already having Saiyuki and Gundam Seed costumes, making it home safely despite misadventures (I took a picture of the highway while we were waiting for him to fix the tire!), takenoko no sato and kinoko no yama, and the idea that pizza Pringles still exist somewhere.
Tags: anime expo, japan trip, toshihiko seki
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