And as promised, here is part two to of my 2013 photo essay, starting with Singapore, through Tokyo, and ending in Seoul. Hope you enjoy and see you all in 2014!
Oh, and I’m hella late, but follow me on Bloglovin‘!
The afternoon of day 2 of our trip to Tokyo was spent watching the Sumo tournament, but after the sun set, we headed off to explore a bit more of the amazing city.
Our first stop was the gamer/manga/anime neighborhood of Akihabara. Whenever I think of Tokyo, this is the area I think of the most. Think bright lights, maid cafes, comic book stores, DVD rooms, arcades, and a dizzying array of colors. We also went to a 7 story sex shop that’s just as crazy as you’d imagine a 7 story sex shop in Tokyo would be.
After exploring Akihabara and seeing enough manga to last a lifetime, we went to Shinjuku, where we went bar hopping in one of the coolest places in the entire world (next post!)
Tokyo is an amazing city. As soon as we stepped off the train, I knew that I was in love. Johnny and I didn’t even get to see a vast majority of the city, so I need to make plans to visit again before I leave this side of the world. The shopping is to die for, the fashion is amazing, the magazines are the things dreams are made of (which is why I bought 4 of them to bring home with me…), the food is great, the people are friendly, and the nightlife is so vibrant! I feel like you can never, ever get bored in Tokyo. As we walked around, I just kept muttering to myself, “this is so cool…everything is just SO cool!” I can’t wait to go back.
Our first day in Tokyo was a very, very busy one. I think we left our hotel at around 11am and we weren’t back until way past midnight. We went to Ginza, where we went to Sanrio World and bought expensive French chocolate, wandered around the random and cheap dollar (yen) stores, ate sushi at the most adorable conveyor belt restaurant in Shibuya, saw Shibuya Crossing and Shibuya 109 (where I lost my mind…omg it’s the most amazing shopping mall EVER), went to the Daiso store in Harajuku, and hung out in arcades, trying (and failing) to win adorable plush llamas.
Before Johnny and I go on any trip, we make a list of all of the things that we want to do. On my list for Tokyo, I had:
1. Visit Shibuya 109 (check!)
2. See Shibuya Crossing (check!)
3. Go shopping in Ginza (check!)
4. Go to the Sanrio Puroland (nope)
5. Go to a maid cafe (nope)
6. Party in Roppongi (nope)
7. Go to the Harujuku Daiso store (check!)
8. Go to Kiddyland (check!)
9. Visit the Tokyo Tower (check!)
10. See the view of Tokyo from the Metropolitan (check!)
+ like a million more things
On Johnny’s list
1. Eat Sushi (check!)
2. See a sumo match (check!!!!!)
Luckily for Johnny, September is when the Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo is held. We tried to get tickets in advance, because we heard about how packed the tournament can get, but it was just too short notice. The tournament was held in the Ryogoku Kokugikan, or the Ryogoku Sumo Hall. The Ryogoku Sumo Hall is mainly used for sumo tournaments and also contains a museum dedicated to the sport of sumo as well.
Thankfully, we were able to get tickets at the door. Tickets were roughly $35 US dollars and it was surprisingly easy to get them. Just wait in line, pick out the section you want to sit in, and BAM. Done.
Outside of the stadium was just as interesting as the inside. Bright colored flags lined the entrance, indicating the each “stable” the sumo wrestler, or rikishi belong in.Along the street leading up to the stadium, mini statues of famous rikishi line the street. I naturally had to get a picture.
The rikishi are literally like celebrities. People were waiting all along the street outside the stadium to catch glimpses of their favorite wrestlers. This lady chased one of the rikishi down, and he definitely was not looking pleased with all attention. As you walk up towards the stadium, there’s a huge mural of sumo wrestlers, and once you walk inside, there are also larger than huge portraits of the previous tournament winners.
The stadium itself is relatively small, seating approximately 13,000 people. Johnny and I had great seats on the second floor. We grabbed some beers and snacks and settled in for the fun! The pictures from here on out may be slightly blurry, as the lighting was pretty bad and I had to use my ultra zoom to capture the action.
The tournament was easily one of the coolest events I’ve ever gone to. Thankfully, we were provided handouts that detailed the rules, rituals, and regulations of sumo so we could understand everything better. Basically, the rules are that no part of the rikishi can touch the ground or step outside of the circle. If you do, you lose. Before each match, the rikishi perform various rituals to drive away evil spirits and to purify the ring. These rituals, such as taking a sip of water and throwing salt into the ring can be repeated anywhere from 1 to 4 times. The actual match itself lasts less than 30 seconds…I think there was maybe one match that lasted 45 seconds. You really have to pay attention or you just may miss everything!
One of the things I found most interesting were the number of non-Japanese rikishi. Apparently the sport is now being dominated by foreigners, and the last time a Japanese wrestler won the tournament was in 2006. Insane. I had no idea!
What’s the coolest sporting event that you’ve been to? Let me know in the comments!
I know posting was slow this week, as I was hit with a really, really bad cold. I actually spent Wednesday home from work, catching up on season 5 of Real Housewives of Atlanta, skyping with my family, and sleeping in a NyQuil induced coma. I’m about 75% better now, and hopefully staying in this weekend will speed up the process.
As you may remember, I went to Tokyo in September. It’s the best city ever. I fell in love. Singapore, Paris, and Tokyo are all neck and neck for my #1 favorite city. Besides all of the amazing food, drinks, and shopping, Tokyo (or Japan rather) is home to my first true love.
I’ve loved Hello Kitty since I can remember. One of favorite things to do when I was a child was to go to the Sanrio store in my local mall after school and buy stationary and cute wallets. Those plastic Sanrio wallets were my LIFE. Anyway, I thought that when I went to Tokyo, I would go to Puroland, one of the Sanrio themed amusement parks there. In the end, it just ended up being out of the budget (coughIwantedtoshopmorecough), and I ended up going to two huge Sanrio themed stores instead. The first one I visited was Sanrio World in Ginza.
Sanrio World in Ginza is the Sanrio flagship store, and apparently has the largest collection of products in the world. Swoon. It’s located in the Nishi Department Store in Ginza, on the 2nd floor. You can find an address and map here. As soon as I got to the 2nd floor, I sort of lost my mind. HELLO KITTY MADNESSSSSS!
It was amazing. They had all of my favorite Sanrio characters! My Melody! Little Twin Stars! Batz Maru! Keroppi! If they had any leftover Pochacco stuff (I’m still devastated Pochacco was discontinued), I think I would’ve just fallen out. I just couldn’t deal with all the cuteness. I ended up being reserved and bought some stationary and a really cute pair of boy shorts, although I wanted everything.
Everything in Tokyo was awesome, and going to Sanrio World was definitely a highlight. Looking at all these pictures is making me wonder just why in the world I didn’t get the Hello Kitty teapot. HELLO!!!!! As soon as I typed that sentence, I went to the Sanrio online store and lost my mind all over again. AHHHHH!!!