June 14, 2017

Tokyo, Japan 2016 | Day 3: Raw Tokyo

It's been months since my last post and while I did meant to blog about my Japan trip (in fact I was really excited to talk about it) I didn't have the time to edit photos and draft the posts as I was busy with my final project in college. Now that that has been done, which also means that I've completed my Diploma yayyyy *imaginary celebratory confetti* I can finally concentrate on my personal projects while I seek for a job.

Continuing from where I left off, the following posts will be on the third day of my trip. You can read the previous posts from my trip under the Tokyo label. I'm separating day 3 in parts because I went to many locations on this day and I want to talk about each of them in detail. Also there will be less wait for a new post rather than waiting for me to edit over 100 photos and spam everything in 1 post.

I love photographing train station with natural light, so soft and beautiful. I noticed that in Japan the natural light's white balance is a little different from Southeast Asia. It's a subtle difference but the lighting makes everything look much more pleasing to the eye, and if you notice the way I take and edit my photographs, I like them to be bright and colourful and usually a little on the cooler side.

So on the third day my first agenda was to visit Raw Tokyo. It's a vintage flea market around Aoyama which opens on the first weekend of the month. Not too sure how I got there since I pretty much relied on Misato to guide me there with the help of Google Maps, but I think if you google around it shouldn't be hard to locate. Before you enter Raw Tokyo there's a Farmers' Market outside so if you're interested you can visit that too.

As soon as you enter the market you'll see some booths selling food and coffee, so you can grab breakfast here if you haven't had any in the morning. I didn't get to try them but they smelled really good, and this particular mobile pizza van caught my interest since it had a kiln in the van itself!

Lots of vintage thrift store around Tokyo gathered here and each has a booth of their own carrying vintage clothing, bags, accessories so you'll never know what you might discover. Although I must say that the pricing can be pretty steep here, so I just went there to check out what they had and took pictures. The booth owners were really friendly so you can try to talk to them and get to know the people there. ^^

Cute cat display spotted!

Some booths were selling mini display items too, they're really random but I felt that that was the exciting part of a flea market. The items selling seemed like they were sourced from many countries and it was interesting to see what they chose to sell and what items interest the visitors here. I felt that there was a nice balance of both locals and foreigners here.

Fresh flowers were on sale too! I was pretty sure my mom would love to see them since she loves flowers. I'm usually not a nature sort of person but when I was in Japan I couldn't stop staring at the different species of floral and how beautifully they bloom in the cold weather.

Kermit frog and some other plushies on sale~ Fancy one for a meme?

Obligatory tourist photo to show that I've been here~ Finally got to wear my rainbow knitted dress from Unif in Tokyo thanks to the cool weather. :D I'd say that now but a few days later I'd be freezing in mini skirt as the temperature dropped... but you'll still see me in them because I want to look good in photos lol.

I'm the type who tries to dress up everyday when I'm traveling because I want to look good in my photos and have variety everyday but I try to pack clothes that I will definitely be able to mix and match into different style to save luggage space lol. Reversible clothing gains extra points from me too :D I can't see myself wrapped in the same down jacket everyday and look pretty much the same in every photo lol, that just feels like a waste of opportunity for me.

More tiny display items and cute accessories~

With Misato my travel buddy and tour guide for most of my trip in Tokyo. I really miss being there and I hope to travel and meet her again soon. I'm back home now after studying in Singapore but she's still over there working intern so I'm really missing her presence. :'( Right now I'm happy to be home with my family but I'm also missing some good friends in Singapore. Currently I'm trying to look for a job here and to study some skills part time so that hopefully in maybe 2 to 3 years time I'll get to go overseas again for a long period.

Seriously 'yabai' jeans spotted here by a shop staff. *v* I used the idea for my graduation project lol~

You can slowly enjoy your time at the market with some background music lol

I was just taking picture of this random car in the middle of the market then this uncle in yellow jacket walk over and was admiring the car and I thought that it was just a perfect match of colours! I love taking coincidental images :D

Whenever I'm travelling I love taking pictures of the people there because they remind me of the surroundings. I mean, touristy photos are good memories too but it's just you or someone you're travelling with in the photo so it doesn't truly represent the place and the atmosphere around you during that moment. Unintentional shots like this conveys a different message as they are not purposefully composed (although yes I compose the shot in terms of photography angles) but the subject themselves are unaware so they aren't 'posing' for the camera.

Also there happened to have lots of furkids running around at this fenced corner at the market. I think they were probably up for adoption?

First weekend of the month

Farmer's Market @ UNU
Nearest train stations are Omotesando station (5 mins walk) & Shibuya station (10 mins walk)
January 13, 2017

Tokyo, Japan 2016 | Day 2: Nakano Broadway

Time really flies when school starts, it's been 2 weeks of my final semester so far and generally things have been going pretty smooth and I hope it continues at this pace till I graduate lol. I initially hoped to be able to update my blog once a week, but editing photos and blogging takes time and energy and right now both of them are really precious to me in completing my final projects which is why this post has been delayed for a week. ^^; But like I've mentioned in previous post, looking at pictures from my Tokyo trip helps me to reduce stress and I found that I've gained lots of insights and inspiration from it that is helping me a lot in my current projects so I'm really grateful for that.

And that was a mini update of the first 2 weeks of 2017, so now back to the main topic of this post which is my visit to Nakano! I chose to visit Nakano first instead of Akihabara mainly because there are more older series and unexpected finds which you can only get there. Akihabara is targeted mainly at mainstream anime, manga and games but of course you can find unexpected things there too. Nakano Broadway also has a different vibe to it, and a lot more R21 shops if you're keen to know lol :P

Top floor of Nakano Broadway. The largest shop in Nakano Broadway has to be Mandarake which I totally love visiting because it is selling second hand items, but in mint condition and depending on the item they can be discounted more than half or its original value or they can be really expensive if it's a collector's item. There are various Mandarake shops in different floors of Nakano Broadway and each sells different items eg. collectible trading cards, vintage toys or consoles, figurines, cosplay and mangas.

There are also many other shops which sells anime merchandise, vintage items, figurines and just almost anything. I spent an entire day there checking out the shops, because you'll never know what you might find! Be prepared to get unexpected surprises when you visit Nakano Broadway though, like I said there are lots of R21 shops which doesn't look anything like that on the outside till you walk in and see all the XXX stuff. I walked into many of them without knowing, and even into one store selling R21 doujinshi catered to males and got weird stares then I realized what sort of shop I was at hahahaha! *WELCOME TO JAPAN*

Mandarake's cosplay shop. Ah this was located right opposite the R21 store that I walked into lol.

Nakano Broadway has too many things to see and it can be a little confusing to navigate around at first because every shop is packed to the brim with goods so it can be a little hard to recognize whether you've been there or not. It can also be a little repetitive when it comes to the classic goods such as Sailormoon but at the same time you want to take a look at everything because they might have a different selection or selling the same item at a cheaper price :)

Mandarake's manga store. I LOVE THIS PLACE! Some manga bundles places outside the store can go at really cheap price, and there's a huge shelf of mangas outside that sells at 100yen each plus you can browse through them. Inside the store they have huge shelves of mangas and illustration books lined side to side and everything is so much cheaper here! Now that I've discovered the existence of Mandarake, when I visit Kinokuniya I don't feel like buying anything anymore unless it's a limited item which I have no choice but to pay more :( I'd rather save up more money to visit Japan and buy them there lol.

Mandarake hires cosplayers as cashiers which was something fresh to see. I really love her cosplay of Kenma with Nekomimi and I couldn't stop staring when I was queuing to pay at the counter so I sneaked a picture of her hahaha :P

The ground floor at Nakano Broadway has a variety of shops selling snacks, shoes and various items mixed in with some anime or game merchandise shops.

The day we went there was a mini exhibition of illustration artworks by a young mangaka and was giving out free copies of test reading volumes? I don't know what to call them but they are thin copies of let's say the first chapter of the manga so you can support the mangaka if you're interested in the work.

There was also a pachinko at the ground floor. I like calling pachinko adult's arcade lol. They always have anime posters outside these stores and sometimes they have one floor dedicated to pachinko within a multi storey arcade building. It's very common to find pachinko places in Japan, I saw them pretty much everywhere I went.

In Japan some shopping malls like to turn up the heater really warm plus there were so many things to see inside Nakano Broadway so it felt like visual overload for me that day... and I ended up getting a terrible headache when I got outside. Good thing it was cool that night so Misato accompanied me to chill beside the train station while I get a breath of fresh air to hopefully feel better soon. We were chilling there as we initially planned to visit Koenji too but cancelled it because it was quite late and I was really tired.

ALSO, HERE'S WELCOME TO JAPAN PART 2. So while chilling outside Misato wanted to just go back in because she had to collect her shoes that she sent for fixing and I agreed to just wait there while she quickly gets her stuff. Since I was bored I decided to try Facebook Live on my private account and see if anyone would watch lol. Suddenly a man came up and spoke in Japanese to me and complimented my hair, THEN TOLD ME HE'S SCOUTING FOR KABAKURA (Cabaret Club). Everything was recorded because I was on Facebook Live and it was embarrassing yet funny lol. I rejected of course, but when I told Misato about it she started laughing too and all she said was that Kabakura jobs pay really well....Uhhh but no thanks hahahaha!

So after Misato came back we decided to have dinner and Ichiran Ramen was nearby so we went there. I wanted to try Ichiran to see what the hype was but honestly it was really good.

Day 2 in Japan, first time ordering from a ticket machine~

I had the mild broth version that day because I wasn't feeling too well, but I tried a little of their heavier broth version which Misato ordered and it was really good too. The chashu was perfect, the best I've ever tasted and nothing compares to authentic Japanese ramen now that I'm back here. I really miss the taste and the texture of their ramen.

After ramen I wanted to try this famous rainbow soft serve at the basement of Nakano Broadway which a friend recommended me while I was there. They had so many cute figurines at the cashier counter :D

Layer by layer by layer by layer, the soft serve was really huge and it's lucky that we're sharing it otherwise I don't think it's possible to finish it alone.

OMG. Also everything in Japan coincidentally matches my hair (:

Nakano Broadway was closing so we had to get outside to continue eating our giant soft serve. We're having soft serve in winter at night outdoors, yay~~~ Many people who passed by kept asking us where we got it and were really amused by it lol. The soft serve was really good, and although I can't really remember the flavours, they weren't too sweet and it only cost 490yen for one. It's a must try if you ever visit Nakano Broadway!

The shopping street outside Nakano Broadway.

Lugged my loots back to my airbnb place happily~ Best buy of the day has got to be the full bundle of Rozen Maiden manga for 800yen in total, which means 100yen each volume. Rozen Maiden was one of the first few series that got me really into anime and I love the style of art for this series. Really lucky to get the full bundle! Got 2 copies of Lucky Star, which to date is still my favourite series, the english version of the manga stopped publishing at volume 8 because the company closed down so I never got to read the rest of it but I'm glad I got the last 2 volumes although they are in Japanese. Got a copy of Himouto Umaru-chan's manga because I really love Umaru and also the last one was the free browsing copy from the exhibition.