Japan Day 13

As it was our last day in Japan, we all split up to do our own things. Jamie stayed at the airbnb and had a little wander. Matt went to Akihabara. Reece went to Akihabara. Me and Chelsea went to Akihbara. And Hannah and Liam went to Akihabara. Turns out we didn’t do our own things after all.

Hannah and Liam were supposed to be going to Naruto Land at FujiQ, a big theme park near Fuji, but ended up waking up late and just heading into Tokyo instead.

Me and Chelsea wanted a lie in too and got up at 10:30 then got 2 trains to Meguro. They had a micro pig cafe that we’d booked for 1pm. We got there a bit early so had a wander through the suburb. They had a market going on with food and craft stalls lining the streets. We also found a charity shop to go in. We didn’t get anything, but it was cool to look. We also saw a Skyline and LFA.

When we got to MiPig, we had to sign a waiver to say we hadn’t got pig cholera and we wouldn’t pick up the pigs. I ordered an iced coffee which was disgusting and Chelsea said I should just let her order my coffee because she knows best. Chelsea got an apple juice which was much nicer. We also got 2 donuts that looked like pigs, but half way through eating mine I had a panic that they were meant for the pigs. I still don’t know whether they were. The pigs were on the second floor and we had to take our shoes off and put slippers on. The staff were friendly and spoke good English, I imagine they get a lot of tourists. There was an English-speaking family in there and an Asian family when we first got there but their time ended pretty quickly and we got to cuddle all of their pigs. A group of Asian girls came in after us and squealed the whole time which scared the pigs. There were 3 baby ones, 2 months old, that first all sat on my lap, then sat on Chelsea’s. They liked to stay together and all wanted to be on the top of the pile so did a lot of rummaging which Chelsea said tickled. Some of the adult pigs, a year old, were a bit rough and headbutted the babies and bit their ears so they had a few sore spots. The pigs were very well trained and had a litter tray and didn’t try to nick any of our drink or donuts. When the big pigs were being violent the staff would give them a little spank. We only booked half an hour which went pretty quickly and it was soon time to leave.

We wandered through some more stalls and charity shops and antique shops on our way back to the station to have McDonalds for lunch. We passed a few sandwich places that looked nice but we weren’t brave enough to try one. We saw an Evo wagon which is the coolest car we’ve seen all holiday! To think we wouldn’t have even seen it if Chelsea hadn’t sat down to do directions. We stopped in a Family Mart, Seven-Eleven, and Lawson’s completing the trio. Would you believe it it was the first Seven-Eleven I’d been to, even though it was our last day. I got some frozen orange juice ice cube ball things for a snack. Chelsea got spicy chilli crisps and chicken ramen crisps.

We did eventually make it to McDonald’s. It looked to be fairly busy, so we wanted to find a table and order on our phone like we did last time but they didn’t have that feature. We went back downstairs and the queue had died down and they had self-serve machines anyway, so we could take our time picking what we wanted. We both had a medium cheese chicken sandwich meal with a Coke. Chelsea said the next holiday she’s going on is to Felixstowe to find some sea glass, then America. Two very different ends of the spectrum.

We then got the train to Akihabara. We didn’t quite manage to finish a shopping centre last time so we went there first and had to queue to get on the escalator. It was so busy that when we came off people weren’t moving, but people were coming off behind us, so we had to do a bit of pushing and shoving so no-one was crushed. We got to the 9th and 10th floors but they were only gaming cards so we went all the way down again.

I then wanted to go back to a different shopping center which had a record shop, Recofan, and a camera shop. Chelsea was too tired to go in the camera shop last time, but enjoyed browsing the old film cameras this time. Chelsea found me a couple of records and the shop was tax free too so we got a bargain.

It had then got pretty late and we still needed to buy a few presents so we were stressing a little. We went to Don Quijote which is sort of like a big Poundland but more intense. It had lots of floors with everything you could need from snacks to shoes to perfume to suitcases. It was a bit overwhelming in there and we made a prompt exit.

We then went along the main Akihabara high street and went in an anime figure shop. I went down one aisle and Chelsea another. Chelsea got worried I’d left her and I found her outside the store about to have a panic but I got to her just in time.

We still hadn’t found presents so went off in the direction of Ueno where they have a bit more market souvenir stalls rather than shops. We found what we needed and headed back to Akihabara to spend the last of our yen.

We went back to the anime figure shop and Chelsea got a kawaii figure. We went in a little souvenir shop and there was an American version of Katy Hopkins yelling at this poor store owner. Katy hadn’t got 26 yen so was asking to just have the thing as it was “for a little boy”. Then she started asking if they did tax free, which they did not. Chelsea was just about to get some yen out for her but another American stepped in to sort the horrible old Karen out. He gave her the money and everyone left the store for her to have her little meltdown. We felt sorry for the store owner.

We still had a few 100 yen coins to use up so went to a couple of the capsule shops and got ones we thought were cool.

It took us quite a while to do the shopping so we were running late for getting back to the friends for dinner. Luckily they waited for us.

We got home, showed them our shopping haul, then walked to dinner.

It was a quaint traditional Japanese restaurant and they had just enough seats for us. We took a long time to read the menu as we had to Google translate it. I chose a Coke and fried chicken curry. It was a bit bland and had too many weird vegetables. I wasn’t that hungry either so only ate the chicken. Chelsea ordered hot soba noodles but ended up getting cold ones with racoon meat due to some communication difficulties. She still ate it bless her, even if it was a bit weird. We all got very loud at the end chatting about punishing kids at school due to Chelsea’s job. There was one other Japanese family in there, so we probably ruined their night out by being obnoxious tourists. They started to close the doors and shutters around us so we quickly paid and hurried out.

We stopped at Lawson’s on the way home to use the last of our Suica money. I bought a Japan Motor Show magazine. Chelsea bought a Manga. We got back to the bnb and I said I wanted a drink, so we went out again and used the last last of our money to buy a bottle of water each, then went to McDonald’s to donate our remaining 1 yen coins to charity.

We spent a good few hours packing as we’d bought far too much stuff. All of our suitcases were bursting at the seams. Everyone kept coming in and out of our room to check our progress and wonder how on earth we were going to fit it all in. We put the bins out, did some washing up, and went to bed quite late ready for our 4:30 am start tomorrow.

Japan Day 12

We had a fairly late start after the Disney days leaving just after 10. We were going to Tokorozawa aviation museum. Only me, Chelsea, and Jamie went as the others don’t really like planes all that much. It took an hour and a half and 3 trains to get there. Just outside the station was a plane and a memorial of sorts but we couldn’t work out what it was for. The museum was situated in a park and we saw a school trip who were having their lunch before going into the museum. It was really cheap to enter at just 520 yen per person. We had a squiz round the gift shop before heading in. It was small but informative. They had a few helicopters, a few props, and a jet, all in JSADF livery. Upstairs they had some items from WWII such as a flight suit. They also had models of their version of the wright brothers plane. They had some simulators but only one was working. Me and Jamie enjoyed pretending to be pilots on those. Downstairs the school trip had come in so it got a little busy. They had some interactive exhibits for showing you how many helium balloons it would take to lift you, a wind tunnel, and a rocket launch station. They also had a gravity emulator thing where you sit in a chair and push off from the floor and the device emulates other planets/moons gravity. We enjoyed the focus on mankinds achievement of flight rather than a have a look at these cool planes kind of museum. We had a right spend up in the gift shop, getting a few model kits, keyrings, and diecast cars.

We were pretty hungry after all of our learning so went to their cafe. I had a hot dog and onion rings and a homemade lemonade which was delicious. Chelsea had a pizza and an ice coffee. Jamie had lasagne and what was supposed to be a bottle of lemonade but you needed an enginering degree to open it. Turns out there was a little glass ball at the top that needed to be pushed inside the bottle. I managed to man handle it open and Jamie eventually got his drink.

After being fully refreshed we got the train back. Jamie went off back to the bnb and we went off to Akihabara to do some shopping. We spent about an hour and a half in one shopping center which had loads of model shops, anime figure shops, and doll shops. Needless to say we spent a lot.

We had to cut our shopping trip short as we needed to get to Shibuya to meet the others for dinner. Typical that the last shop had a trainee cashier so was confused when we wanted tax free. We made it to Shibuya ready to have Kura Sushi, the conveyer belt one, but it was fully booked! When we got off the train we saw the dog statue and had to cross Shibuya crossing to go meet the friends. We weren’t that impressed really as it didn’t seem that big or busy. We had a little wander round and found a fairly empty Italian place, a bit different to sushi but we were all agreed on it so before anyone could change their mind we went in. Restaurants in Japan aren’t set up for big groups, 4 at a max, so all holiday we’ve been having to split up into a 4 and a 3 for tables. I had a meat pizza and coke, Chelsea had asparagus and bacon carbonara and a coke. We enjoyed our meals even though I’d eaten mine by the time Chelsea’s had come out. Reece had a pizza with egg on and then had a chocolate cake for pudding. Jamie wanted one too but they’d sold out.

The friends went off to Kabukicho and Karaoke whilst me and Chelsea went home for an early night.

Japan Day 11

We woke up early again to make the most of it. Me, Chelsea, and Matt got the train to DisneySea. We went a slightly different way to avoid the massively long walk through Tokyo station that we had to do yesterday. We got there just before 9 but needed a Starbucks to keep us going. I got a sausage pie, which is sort of like an Aunty Annes pretzel dog. I also got a caramel frappecino. Chelsea got a McMuffin but Starbucks and a caramel frappecino too. Matt had a McMuffin and coffee too. We asked for it to go but they gave us a tray so we sat inside and ate it.

We then walked to Disney Train Station and used our Suicas to get the special Disney monorail to DisneySea as it was the other side of the park. We saw the back of all the Disney buildings which were just warehouses and that made it a bit less magical. The carriage had Mickey shaped windows and hand holds. Some of the trains were Disney themed but ours was just grey and pink. We got off the monorail and had a bit of a queue into the park which was forboding of our day. We went to Journey to the Center of the Earth and queued for about 2 hours whilst chatting nonsense to make the time go by. We got about 10 minutes from the end of the queue and then all the lights came on and an announcement came over the tanoy but it was in Japanese. The queue moved really quickly and we were ushered out of the ride. The Disney man explained there had been a system malfunction and gave us free fast passes as compensation.

We then queued up for Tower of Terror for another 2 hours and had a 30 second ride. We tried to buy more fast passes but the app wouldn’t let us. We then complained about all the ways Disney could have made money out of us, but didn’t. They could have let us queue on our phone for the rides and we could have gone off shopping or getting popcorn. We would have happily bought fast passes. There was only one ride in the two parks that you could buy a photo for. We also wanted a map when we got in, but they didn’t give us one. We didn’t even get WiFi. In the Tower of Terror we got in a lift that went back really fast and up really fast and dropped you. Matt said you went up and back more at the one in Florida. We were a bit disapointed after that. We brought our popcorn bucket from yesterday with us but the queues were miles long so that made us even more depressed. They also had disgusting flavours like garlic shrimp or soy sauce and butter.

We went to lunch in Mermaid Lagoon which had lots of kiddy rides in and was meant to be under the sea Little Mermaid themed. Lunch had long queues but they moved fairly quickly. We sent Chelsea to find a table and me and Matt queued up to get our pizzas, chips, and coke. Disney only seems to do fast food like that, or really posh disgusting meals. Lunch was nice at least. Me and Matt got a Mickey shaped beef and mayo pizza. Chelsea got a sausage pizza. The coke cups are really weird as they’re full to the brim with ice, but you don’t get a straw, rather a flap that you pull back and sip out of, but can’t get any coke because the ice is in the way.

We saw that Journey to the center of the Earth was back open so went all the way back there and used our fast passes to skip the queue, which was already at 1 hour when it had only just opened. We felt like royalty walking past all those suckers. There was still a bit of a queue at the end but we got in our vehicle and went off on our journey. There were lots of pretty glowing creatures. Some dinosaur things that breathed real-life fire and scorched my arm hairs. Then we did one steep drop and we were done, which was a bit quick for how much hassle it was.

Matt didn’t want to stay the whole day so we decided on one last ride to do together, Indiana Jones. It was another 2 hour plus queue and we were all flagging. Once we got in the queue, Chelsea decided she needed a wee so had to sneak out and back in again. On her way back she saw a little boy with an Indiana Jones t-shirt, who had a birthday wristband. The Disney worker measured him but he was an inch too short to go on the ride. We were all sad after that. Queuing for the ride was long, but the set was really cool. We went in an ancient pyramid and looked at some scenes that looked like Indie’s desk with loads of notes and drawings about the artifacts he was going to find. Chelsea even found a hidden Mickey which are scattered throughout the park but this was the first one we had seen. We got on a Willys Jeep sort of thing which allowed us to sit together this time rather than leaving Matt by himself. My favourite part was the dart wall which made it seem like darts were being thrown at us as we drove passed so we ducked. Chelsea’s favourite part was when a boulder was rolling towards us and then the floor opened up and we were whisked away to end the ride. We all thought that Indiana talking in Japanese was a bit weird but also funny. We were waiting for the famous soundtrack to play and then it did near the end which made the whole ride really! It just about redeemed the day.

Matt went off home and we went to find some popcorn. I was taking Chelsea to get some caramel but she stopped at the milk chocolate instead. The popcorn lady tried her best to ask us if we wanted the bucket half full or full but we don’t speak Japanese. She eventually showed us on the bucket and we got it. I told Chelsea it was 800 yen for a refill but it was actually 600, so that confused the poor lady even more when she got handed too much change. We eventually figured it out and got our popcorn.

We passed where we wanted for dinner and saw that you needed to make a reservation on the app so I did that. Then we had a little wander and sat by a Mickey statue to kill some time. I didn’t really fancy one of their burgers today so I had Mickey shaped chicken nuggets the same as Chelsea. We sat outside by the candle light all romantic and couldn’t be grumpy anymore.

After dinner, Chelsea wanted to go to a Duffy shop but you needed a reservation, but you couldn’t get a reservation, so that made us a bit grumpy again.

Then we wandered over to a Steamboat Mickey shop but saw that a show was happening on the main lake. Chelsea tried to get in a VIP section and a security guard nearly knocked her out. We then found a poor people section for us and stood and watched the show which was amazing. They had Frozen, Tangled, The Little Mermaid, Moana, Aladin, and Coco. It had lights and fireworks. But then they cancelled the proper fireworks because of weather conditions. We think they’re just too cheap and have never had fireworks. 

We were pretty done after the show, so I sat on a wall and let Chelsea go to a few shops. Then we did the shops at the exit and I got an Indiana Jones diecast car and Chelsea got a bubble wand. We sat at the entrance globe taking in one last breath of Disney, and a few bubbles because Chelsea kept doing it in front of her face, then walked to get the train.

We saw all of the Disney hotels on our walk back and made us wish we could stay.

Japan Day 10

We woke up at 7:15 to get an early start. Me and Chelsea put our Mickey ears on ready to go. Some people needed to top up their Suicas so Chelsea got itchy feet. We eventually made it to Disney after 3 trains and a bit of walking. There was a shop right at the entrance but we convinced Chelsea we’d do that one at the end. We didn’t have to queue to get in and all went through the bag check fine. We wanted to go and investigate lunch and dinner. The friends went off to go on as many rides as possible. On the way to finding lunch we stopped at a stall and Chelsea bought a Baymax hat. We then found lunch and realised it wasn’t open yet and we didn’t need to make a reservation.

Me and Chelsea did the Western Railroad together, which took us on a tour of the park. We hardly had to queue at all. We then saw the friends who had done Pirates of the Carribean and the Jungle Cruise.

We all queued up for Big Thunder Mountain together which was a bit of a longer queue but not too bad. It was a pretty fast rollercoaster with lots of sharp turns and drops but not too scary. We even waved our arms in the air.

It was only 11, but we were pretty hungry so went to Camp Woodchuck kitchen. Me and Chelsea had a set meal each which came with cheesy potato things, big fried chicken, small fried chicken, sausage, chips, green crisps, and a Mickey shaped cake. I swapped my green crisps for Chelsea’s sausage.

We wanted to do Pirates of the Carribean so split up with the friends again. We got a bit lost on the way there. We looked at the app and it said it was closed but we went anyway and luckily it was open. There was no queue at all. We sat on a little boat and it took you through various scenes from the movies, but in Japanese. There was also a bit of the ride that went through a pirate themed restaurant which Chelsea thought was cool for us but awkward for the people eating. The end of the ride took you through a shop and I bought a t-shirt that I changed into so I could be more Disney-themed.

We stopped at another stall and Chelsea bought a Pascal shoulder buddy that clipped to her backpack and sat on her shoulder all day.

After we were properly Disney-ified, we headed to Tomorrowland in search of the Star Wars ride. It was a bit knock-off, even though Disney own Star Wars. It was named “Star Tours” and some of the things were just close enough to be out of copyright. The walk through from the ride entrance to the ride start was good, they had lots of droids and a spaceship and Star Wars music playing. There was no queue, so we hurried through, but I imagine you’d get to appreciate it more with the normal 3 hour queues. On the ride, you got to take a “Starspeeder 1000” across the galaxy. We were given some 3D glasses, which I couldn’t put on properly because of my actual glasses. We got taken to a cinema room with rows of seats that we had to strap into. Then the ride began. It was a short, ~3 minute, movie where we got taken through the galaxy, shown some rebels, some imperials, all while the room moved around to simulate us flying through space. We’d never done one of those 4D cinemas before, so had good fun.

We walked through Tomorrowland in search of a snack. We found the Pan Galactic Pizza Port and ordered some mochi that looked like the little green aliens from Toy Story. They were strawberry, chocolate and vanilla flavoured. I took one bite and said they were the wrong texture so left Chelsea to eat the rest. We also got a Mango and Passionfruit sparkling drink to wash it all down. I didn’t like that either because it had bubble tea bubbles at the bottom.

Space Mountain was just across from where we were sitting so we went there next. The queue was fairly long and we were with some cosplayers. It had also got really hot, so we were sweating. We saw the others go past and they said the ride was good. We got to the end of the queue and went up a space escalator into Space Mountain. There was some more queuing inside, but it went quickly. We sat on the rollercoaster, strapped in, and we were off. It went really fast, and it was really dark. You could only really tell how fast you were going by the G Force and the wind rushing past your face. There was also a light show going on at some bits, so you couldn’t really have your eyes closed. The ride finished and we both felt rather sick, but exhilarated too. The queue had completely disappeared when we got out, which was rather annoying. We saw Asian Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain America and Stitch doing a meet and greet.

Chelsea practically pulled Joe’s arm off trying to get to the Baymax ride. She was really excited because she’d been wearing the hat all day and been waiting for this one ride. It was the longest queue at the park, at about 40 minutes, but it was worth it. Whilst we queued, we got to see everyone be happy on the ride listening to the Happy Baymax songs. We also tried to learn the dances for when it was our turn. Our favourite was B-A-Y-M-A-X like Y-M-C-A, and the happy ride song. We got on the ride which was a kart being pulled around by Baymax, sort of like the waltzers, but less intense. I filmed a little so we could get our happy faces singing along. The ride was over in about 30 seconds but it was Chelsea’s favourite ride.

We decided that after 2 rides we were hungry again so headed over to The Big Pop, a popcorn shop. Chelsea had been wanting a Tangled popcorn bucket for ages, which was a Tokyo Disneyland Exclusive, but they’d sold out. We got a 40th Anniversary bucket instead with caramel popcorn. I don’t like popcorn that much so ate half and carried the bucket around playing with the light when it got dark.

We saw lots of people sitting for the Spooky Boo Parade so joined them and saw the Halloween themed floats driving by the castle. I sat on a wall and watched from afar whilst Chelsea went real up close to get some photos. Chelsea was worried that she wouldn’t be able to find me again because she’d already run off by the time I’d finished saying I was going for a sit down, and she had no data, but she just didn’t want to miss the Spooky Boo.

Once the parade had finished, we met back up again successfully. We went over to the other side of the park, after taking some photos in front of the castle of course.

We went to It’s A Small World, which Chelsea had heard about on Disney-tok from the American parks. I got pre-warned it was weird and weird it was. Although most of the American moms love it. It was a water ride and you sat in a boat while travelling down a river seeing animatronic dolls moving and singing. The purpose of the ride was to show other countries and cultures. It was all on one ride, so was supposed to make you realise we’re all on this planet together, we’re all different but similar, and should celebrate our differences.

We were glad that weird ride was over. We needed something a bit calmer, so went on a ride in a Pirate Ship to Neverland with Peter Pan and Wendy. In the queue, Chelsea made friends with a cute Japanese baby, who ended up grabbing a clump of her hair. The mum awkwardly got the baby to let go. Chelsea learnt never to smile at a baby again. It was difficult getting on the ride because it was a treadmill next to the Pirate Ship. We had to run to make sure we didn’t miss it. The ride was dark at first, but slowly revealed scenes from the story which were lit up. We floated over London before ending up at Neverland where we saw Peter Pan and Captain Hook having a fight on their pirate ship. It was a pretty small ride and at the end we had to launch ourselves out of the Pirate Ship in a similar fashion to how we got on.

The Snow White Adventure was next door, and very similar, but we wanted to make the most of our day. This time we were in a kart on the ground and drove through scenes from the story. It was supposed to be a bit scary, but more for 4 year olds.

We wanted a bigger ride next, so had a wander over to Critter Country for Splash Mountain. Chelsea didn’t want to get wet, but I convinced her to go. The queue was fairly short and we walked through before sitting in the rollercoaster. We tried to put our stuff as far under the seat as we could and then the ride set off. Seeing as Chelsea was apprehensive, she found it really good, and didn’t even get that wet. It didn’t feel as fast as Space Mountain which was nice.

We were starting to get a bit hungry so made a slow walk to Tomorrowland Terrace for a Baymax Burger. We had to walk through the Disney Castle again to get there, so I convinced Chelsea to stop at the Cinderalla’s Castle ride. It was a bit awkward as we had to get in a lift with other people, whereas all day we’d had our rides to ourselves. Once we’d gone up in the lift we were out into the castle which was decorated beautifully. Chelsea liked a sign on the door which said Royal Attendants Only, meaning staff only. There were lots of cosplayers taking photos for Instagram. After we’d walked through a couple of rooms we saw Cinderalla’s throne, which I made Chelsea sit on and take an Instagram photo.

We made it to Tomorrowland Terrace just as everything was gearing up for the Dreamlights parade. I sat down and saved us a spot at the front of the pavement so we had a good view this time whilst Chelsea went and got us our Baymax burgers. It was delicious. Chelsea had a pot of Mickey chicken nuggets.

It was properly nighttime now so very atmospheric and romantic. We watched float after float come past, all with a different Disney movie theme. There was Tangled, Frozen, Aladin, Beauty in the Beast, Toy Story, pretty much everything you can imagine. All the floats were lit up and some even had dancers.

It was nearly park closing time but we wanted to squeeze one last ride in so ran to Beauty and the Beast. Everyone had had the same idea so there was a bit of a queue getting in. We got into giant teacups that zoomed round the room. The teacups crashed through doors to open them and projectors played out scenes from the story. We saw the beast, the beauty, the love, Chip, Mrs Potts, Lumiere, Coggsworth, the rose, the fight, and finally joined in in their last dance. It was Chelsea’s joint best ride along with Baymax and she would have queued up to go on it again straight after if the park wasn’t closing.

We made another mad dash for the shops and got in most of them before they closed. We got some Disney pot noodles, a Disney Takara Tomy car, and Chelsea got a hoodie. The shops at the end didn’t really have that much different from those throughout the park.

We sat just before the exit and looked at the castle one last time, breathing in all of the Disney magic before we had to go, much to Chelsea’s disappointment. I think she would have lived there if I let her! We got the train home and said hello to the friends who had gone home in the early afternoon. We then crashed ready for DisneySea tomorrow. Overall I really enjoyed it and Chelsea says it was the best day of her life!!

Japan Day 9

We left at 8:30 ready to go to the Tokyo Mobility Show. The trains were crowded, as per usual, and we ended up losing Matt when he managed to get on the train and the rest of us didn’t. Me and Chelsea got on the next train and the others got on the one after us. We reconvened and got off at Tokyo Big Sight Station, where we were a bit overwhelmed with the crowds. There was quite literally a sea of people flowing into the exhibition hall for the Mobility Show.

The queue moved fairly quickly and we got in with no bother. We stopped at a little cafe for some breakfast before going to the less busy looking halls. Downstairs was some sort of music event that was on a pause for a couple of days. Upstairs was empty. No wonder it wasn’t busy. We went to the second building and went to the gift shop where we lost the friends straight away. I bought a fork and spoon with a spanner on the end, a bag, and a suspension keyring, which I later got a free one of, doh! Chelsea got a gearstick keyring.

There was a Veilside stand which was really cool and a Takara/Tomy stall which you had to queue on your phone for so you could buy some exclusive diecast cars. I got 3 and Chelsea got one.

We then went to the trade show bit and got loads of freebies. We liked the ones where you had to follow them on Instagram as that was easy once we figured out how to do it. Chelsea unfollowed them as soon as we walked away. The ones where you had to chat to someone were not that great. And in Japan they use Line instead of Whatsapp, which we don’t have.

We were getting a bit hungry so we queued up for some burgers. I had to leave Chelsea to get the burgers as I needed to go and join the real queue for my Takara/Tomy cars. I got them and met Chelsea again and we sat outside in the bright sunshine to enjoy our burgers.

The next hall was sort of for innovation. There was a video about electric cars and Godzilla, a bit weird, but at least we can say we saw Godzilla in Tokyo. We then saw the robots that served us at the robot cafe earlier in the week. These ones were called Pepper. They had a JAXA exhibition too. They had a conveyer belt with free coffee pods on, so we snatched those up.

There was then a camper bit which had a special Disney 100 camper.

We went into the final hall which was were the real motor show was, why didn’t we go in there first!

We saw the new RX7.

…and the new R36, which we didn’t think much of.

…and the new Sony car.

We finally made it to the Mitsubishi stand and I bought loads. They’d run out of bags though 🙁

The Honda stand was really cool because they had a special AI thing where you could type in your dream car on this website, and then AI would generate it, and you could print it out. If you were lucky, your design would also be projected onto the stand.

In the itinerary, we’d scheduled the motor show to take until early afternoon. We didn’t finish until 7:30pm. Our feet, legs, and backs hurt, but we’d had such a good day we didn’t care. The friends had gone off to the Gundam shop and statue and the poo museum. They said we didn’t miss much, so that was good.

Japan Day 8

The capsule beds were okay. It was too hot, there weren’t enough pillows, and the mattress was too hard. But, we all agreed that when we woke up it felt like the early hours of the morning as we were so comfortable and it was so dark. Chelsea had made a trip to 7/11 by herself which was brave considering she didn’t have any data. She finally got a make your own smoothie which I had been wanting since before the trip as I’d seen it on TikTok. She also got me a pizza bread and herself a custard cream puff. Chelsea had also tried out the shower whilst I’d been snoring and said it took her ten minutes to find out how to control the temperature, but after that, it was a nice one.

We got the train to go to Osaka Castle but Hannah and Liam got left behind as they needed to get some cash out but their card broke. They said not to wait for them so we went on. The park where Osaka castle is was really nice. We sat at a fountain and had second breakfast from Starbucks. I had a vanilla frappe. Chelsea had a caramel frappe which had the worlds supply of sugar and coffee in. Matt and Reece had a McMuffin thing. Chelsea also got us pastry sausage things like at Aunty Annes for later. Reece checked out Lawsons and saw they had Chelsea sweets, so Chelsea went in and bought some. They had a little land train running round the park which we enjoyed watching, and it also seemed to be a running route as there were a lot of people training. There were some people with tents which we weren’t sure whether they were just for the day or for staying overnight in. Almost all of the dogs we saw had outfits, ranging from pink tutus to orange coats.

We had a bit of a walk to the castle and Matt, Chelsea, and Jamie didn’t think much of it, until they realised they were looking at a lookout tower and not at the actual castle. The grounds were huge. The moat was huge. The walls were huge. The castle was not that big, but quite tall and very pretty. We didn’t think it would be very defensible compared to English castles. There was a massive queue to go in and we were running a bit late as we’d got up late so decided to give it a miss and walk back to the subway to go to the Bear Paw cafe. On the way to the subway we saw a karate competition that you could watch.

When we got to the cafe we struggled to read the Japanese menu but the lady came and gave us an English one as she could see we were tourists. Chelsea got a Halloween Parfait and Halloween Cookie. Everyone else got a small cookie. The bear really did come out of a hole in the wall. He gave you your food, then got you to do a hightouchy (high-five) and a kawaii symbol. We all enjoyed that and ate our snacks. I also had my pastry sausage from starbs. Everyone else went to Lawsons for some more substantial food.

We got back on the subway to go to the cup noodle museum. We lost Reece along the way and had a bit of a panic but luckily he caught up to us at the museum. We were directed by special cup noodle people to the noodle museum who Jamie said must have read noodle on our faces. We saw a coke man refilling the vending machines.

We went inside the cup noodle museum, and we found the place to make our custom cup noodles. There were 2 experiences, cup noodles or chicken ramen. We queued up and got our cup noodle pots from a vending machine for 500 yen. Then a woman told us what to do; sit down and colour in the pot. Chelsea was very artistic about it and did an amazing design. I did some shapes. Then we got to pick our flavours from a menu on the table. There were 4 sauces and 12 ingredients. We both chose the cup noodle seasoning. I got minced pork, corn, cheese, and garlic chip. Chelsea got minced pork, egg, cheese, and garlic chip. We took our coloured pots to the production line where several cup noodle workers were behind a glass wall at different stations. At the first station, they cleaned our cups by blowing and sucking them with air. They then put the noodles in and we turned a handle to flip the cup the right way up. The cups then moved to the second station where we told the workers our flavours. Then they sealed the cups in cellophane using a special hot press machine. The cups were very warm when we got them back, it was a bit like playing hot potato. We took our cups over to the bagging station and I struggled to blow the bag up and put the string in.

Downstairs was the famous cup noodle wall, with noodles all the way from the early 20th century to modern day. They also had a giant cup noodle showing you what was inside. It was a pretty small museum, the cup noodle experience was the main attraction.

They had a decent gift shop, I got a Takara/Tomy duck car and Chelsea got a mini cup noodle.

We then got 2 trains back to Osaka-Umeda and caught our bullet train to Tokyo. Matt and Liam had a sleep. I managed to get an ice cream from a vending machine on the platform so happily ate that and drank a coke too.

The friends got off at Shinjuku so they could go back to the Airbnb to have Dominos but we carried on to Tokyo for Ichiran.

It was a different Ichiran to last time and on the second floor of some office block, a bit weird. We got the same as last time as it was yummy. We sat next to American man and his dad who could read Japanese. I overheard him reading the information board and that they cook the noodles for 10 seconds at 150 degrees.

On our way back to the Airbnb we saw an old steam train outside the station. Also, a police car waited for the crossing light to turn green which we thought was a bit weird. There was also a smoking room as you’re not allowed to smoke on the streets. It even had litter in it which is quite something as no-one litters over here.

The friends had only just got their Dominos when we got back at about 10:30pm because the driver couldn’t find our place, then they had to walk and get it, then one of the pizzas was wrong, so we sat smugly before going to bed.

Japan Day 7

We woke up well-rested and met downstairs for breakfast. I had laughing cow soft cheese in bread. Chelsea had a weird pastry thing with pieces of corn and cheese on top as well as a string cheese. We left at about half 9 and got the tram and train into Kyoto.

Liam and Hannah had found a Manga Museum so we headed there first. It wasn’t as cheap as the monkeys, so I thought it was a bit expensive, even if it was only 900 yen. They had lockers that you put 100 yen into but get back at the beginning so we dumped our bags there. There were lots of different mangas from rude ones to car ones to penguin ones. The museum is on the site of an old school. The director really likes manga and didn’t like the stigma it came with years ago so built up the collection to preserve as much as he could. It was basically a library, with mangas in a few different languages at the beginning, and then in Japanese for the rest of it. They had a special African manga exhibition on too. We got a Kyoto pin capsule, a train capsule, and a fat bird capsule. I was looking for something with Astroboy on in the gift shop, but couldn’t find the right something. They had t-shirts notebooks, and towels. Although, all the towels in shops seem really small.

We got outside and were hungry so wanted to look for lunch. Then we realised there was a cafe next door that was sort of part of the manga museum and had English stuff on the menu, so we went there. Jamie, Reece, and Matt had pizza/egg toast, but said it was quite expensive for what it was. I had a hot dog which had some weird veg in it but was nice. Chelsea had pasta and had a happy little face because even though she likes the food here she hasn’t had pasta in over a week! Or cheese for that matter, and now she’d had it 3 times in one day.

Hannah and Jamie headed off as I’d told them there was a 3-hour hike up Fushimi Inari Shrine and a 3-hour hike back down again. Us other lot went to the Kyoto Gyoen National Garden. We had a look at a shrine and some koi and a tea house. We couldn’t really find anything else to do so got the train to the shrine. Hannah and Jamie let us know that it was only about 45 minutes to the top. The blog post I’d read that said 3 hours was way wrong. With that knowledge, Reece wanted to go all the way up so he went off and did that. Liam and Matt stuck together and went halfway to the top. Me and Chelsea looked at the first few gates and the shrine at the bottom. Chelsea sat me on a wall and then went for an explore of the shops. She found a food stall street and some gift shops. All of the others met up with us and we went down the food street. Chelsea got some candied strawberries which were a bit weird because they were hard and warm. We then got some rice wrapped in bacon-ish with cheese on top that the man flamethrowered. We enjoyed that. The others tried squid balls which got mixed reviews.

We got the train into the center of Kyoto so that we could go to the Pokemon Center. There’s a real lack of bins in Japan to encourage you to take your litter home, but an abundance of public toilets; clean ones in nearly every station. It was a bit of a walk and the streets were really busy, a lot like London. Matt spotted a Disney store so me and Chelsea had to go in there whilst the others went on to Pokemon. We had a browse but didn’t find anything we wanted to buy. They had some nice Minnie and Mickeys dressed up in Kimonos and a Kyoto store-exclusive bag.

We had a look and saw that the Snoopy shop was closer so went there first. We walked through an even busier market which had octopuses on sticks and other oddities. The Snoopy shop was really cool. They had biscuits, souvenirs and homeware. We walked to the Pokemon center through the busy streets and surprisingly the friends were still there. Hannah, Liam, and Matt were in the queue so we sneaked our shopping to them so we didn’t have to queue too as it was about a 30-minute one.

We had a cheeky McDonalds to keep us going utill dinner. Me and Chelsea managed to order on my phone. I played it safe and had a chicken burger. I ordered some cheesy potatoes but what came was a cheese sauce and a bag to put my chips into to make cheesy chips. Doh! It was only 50 yen anyway. Hannah said it wasn’t very nice. Chelsea had a big mac which she said tasted a bit different.

We went on to Yellow Submarine as the one in Akihabara was closed when Hannah and Liam went. It was quite a long walk practically all the way back to Snoopy. It was a bit weird and on the 4th floor of some random building and it didn’t really have the stuff they wanted, so we came out again.

We walked to the train for Osaka but Chelsea’s Suica (oyster card thing) had broken. We let the others go on and we had to go all the way back to the subway to get it fixed. That was practically back to the Pokemon Center so we’d done a complete circle and our legs were knackered. There was a really nice station man who pressed a few buttons on the computer and sorted it out. The Suica’s aren’t very tech-savvy for such a modern nation. It’s much easier to use contactless on the tube. The Suica’s seem to break a lot when lots of people use them as it gets stuck not knowing which station you came out of. And rather than fix itself after a certain time it just breaks. Anyway, we got our train to Osaka, which ended up being the local (slow) train, but we were grateful for the sit-down.

The others had checked into the capsule hotel and we were only ten minutes behind, so not too bad. We checked in too and parted ways as there was a separate floor for men and women. We both put our stuff in the locker, checked out our beds for the night and then went straight up to meet the friends in the lounge because it was the only place where men and women could be together. We sat in the lounge for a few minutes and ate the free snacks they had left on the table. Jamie was about to kill someone because he was so hungry as he didn’t eat at McDonald’s so we headed out to find the revolving sushi bar we had researched.

After quite a long walk we found the sushi place and headed inside. It was pretty much just like Yo! and had small plates of food going around on a conveyor belt. Jamie had 7 or 8 plates of sushi to himself because he hadn’t had much to eat all day. We were amazed at how fast he wolfed it down, although he did use a spoon for his sushi which made Reece cringe. The rest of us only ate 2 or 3 plates. I had tempura squid, cucumber maci, and onion rings because I didn’t want to push the boat out too much. Chelsea had an omelette on top of rice, cucumber maci, and cold grapeos which turned out to be frozen grapes with a mystery gooey sauce on them. We paid for the dinner, which only came out to about £5 each, and then headed to Round One for a few games of bowling.

Me, Chelsea, and Reece shared a game while Hannah, Jamie, Liam, and Matt shared the other. A nice Japanese man helped us work out the machines because they were all in Japanese. He saw us going up the escalator and came and joined us as he could tell we were silly foreigners. We were supposed to get our shoes by just pressing a button on a wall that had a list of sizes. The boys had to ask for bigger sizes because they only went up to a size 8. Although we did have to convert UK sizes to Japanese sizes. Once Reece had his bowling shoes on he put his trainers through the used shoe chute claiming that he saw everyone else doing it. Turns out we all still had our shoes and he had just put his personal shoes into the bowling shoes bin on the other side of the wall! The nice worker had to go and get them out for him but I think he found it quite funny.

It was a bit of a struggle to get the game started because the screens were in Japanese and there wasn’t a way of making them English. Eventually, we somehow got them working and started our game. The man had put our names down as E, F, and G which was strange but we made it work. Chelsea decided to hold the bowling balls like a football and throw them down the lane that way because she didn’t want to break her Disney-themed nails 2 days before we got to the park. The three of us played our two games and then a third one came up. We thought that we got a free game but when a lady came over to us and said we would need to pay extra for the game we soon realised it wasn’t free at all! She was very nice about it and understood that because we aren’t from around here we didn’t know that another game would start straight away. We managed to get out of paying for it because we had only played half a game. We waited for the others to finish their game and then we quickly returned our shoes and left before they changed their minds.

We made the long-ish walk back to our capsule hotel and all got ready for bed as by this time it was already past midnight. I wore the pyjamas that the hotel had given to us. I went into the shower to get changed but was so tired I’d forgotten to take the pyjamas in there with me so had to go back and get them from the locker. Chelsea thought she would be too hot wearing the capsule pyjamas so she wore her own. We climbed into our capsules and chatted for a little bit on Instagram about what our respective beds were like before turning out the lights and going to sleep.