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Japan – Day 14: Tokyo – Day 8

Friday – April 21, 2017

Because we have been going hard this entire trip, I decided to give the guys a break and so we all decided to sleep in. The negative to this is that it means starting your day later than usual. We got to Odaiba, where our day was set to take place, around 11:30. After having brunch we made our way to Joypolis, our first stop. By the time we got our tickets it was 12:30.


I was really excited to go here because, rather than just being another arcade, it was also supposed to be a quasi-amusement park. The concept seemed similar to Disney Quest in Downtown Disney. Once entering though, it basically still felt like an arcade.

IMG_6475Joypolis entrance

The first thing I did there was to go pee. However, being that this is an arcade, the urinal was a game! As I peed there was a sensor tracking how much urine I was producing. There was a screen with a cartoon cupid on it cheering me on. It counted my liquid in milliliters. I was only able to fill the equivalent of one beer can. The game was actually really silly and fun. Probably the most fun thing I did the entire time we were there.

After that I met up with the guys and Pete had already found the Initial D game. This was basically what I had come for. There were three full sized cars from the anime all on simulators with screens in front of them; a WRX STi, an AE86 and an RX-7. I figuured you could sync the cars so that all three of us could race each other. Unfortunately, that’s not how it worked.

IMG_6776Initial D racing game/simulator

Each simulator did it’s own race at it’s own time. They were even so strict as to not let us pick which car we got to sit in. I would get it if it were busy, but we were literally the only three people in line. Pete went first and got the RX-7, though he wanted the WRX. I on the other hand wanted the 86 and fortunately, got it.

The game was pretty cool but I was really bad at it. After we all got a chance, Pete wanted to go again and Dan and I wanted to explore. The next thing we hit was the Half Pipe. This was a standing roller coaster type thing where you were on a “skateboard.” As you went back and forth on the half pipe, depending on which way you leaned, you would do spins.

IMG_6786Tokyo Halfpipe ride

We both agreed we didn’t want to spin but, either due to the slightest tilt of the board or the ride getting fed up with us, we ended up doing a few spins anyway. It ended up not being so bad. You try and compete to see which skateboard team can do the most spins. We lost but had fun which was the most important.

Next we rode the roller coaster, but, being that this is an arcade, they had to make it into a game. It was called dance coaster or something and as you rode you stopped at various screens that showed you video footage of some Japanese boy band.

IMG_6787Spinning coaster

As the footage played there were discs that would appear on screen which correlated with the colored buttons each rider had in front of them. Like DDR or Guitar Hero, the objective was to hit the button at the exact time it lined up on screen. I was pretty bad at it. Eventually it got to the fast part of the ride.

I had been on spinning coasters before but they are usually wild mouse style rides. This one not only spun, it also did a barrel roll. This was a weird sensation and put strange g-forces on your body. When it was over, it totaled your score. I lost, naturally, and Dan won!

IMG_6791Sonic The Hedgehog

After that we went upstairs where I did the Sonic Run game. There are basically 8 treadmills lined up next to each other, each correlating with a character from Sonic. I was #2, Tails. There were different running events such as the dash, long jump and hurdles.

For the long jump and the hurdles there were two buttons where your thumbs rested that you needed to press to jump at the right time. I was competing again all little girls. I was literally 20 years older than the oldest one. On the dash I kicked their ass but as the competitions got harder my age and coordination began to show. I ended up in 3rd place overall so I was happy to medal.

After that Dan and I played a game of Air Hockey before riding these three movie simulator rides. Wild River, Wild Jungle and Wild Wings were all basically the same except that the first was a raft, the second was a jeep and the third was a plane.

The kind of cool thing was that on each ride you “passed by” the other rides on your screen. In other words, each of these experiences were supposed to take place in the same world at roughly the same time, which was kind of a nice tie in.

While in line for Wild Wings, Pete met up with us and after we did the ride, we did Biohazard. This was a walk through “haunted house” type game where you had to choose your own adventure. We had a guide and were walking through it with two other Japanese girls.

The guide was funny and kept it entertaining. The game was actually kind of cool. Depending on the choices you make, that decides whether you “live” or “die.” We died. I almost wanted to do it again to see if we could make the right choices, but decided not to.

After that we parted ways again. Because we knew we would be allowed reentry, Pete went to another car parts store and Dan and I walked to a nearby science museum.


The main draw to the Miraikan museum was that they do demonstrations of Asimo the robot. We arrived at 15:30-ish and despite the fact that it said the price of entry was 600 Yen, it ended up being free.

IMG_6806ASIMO robot demonstration

The only thing that did cost money was the Special Exhibit which was all about the art of Disney Animation. I kind of wanted to see it but a) Dan didn’t want to and b) the museum was closing and I didn’t want to have to rush through it. We basically only ended up seeing the Asimo demo. We did walk around to a few of the other things but there wasn’t much we could do in the time we had before it closed.

We then went back to Joypolis where we re-rode the roller coaster, I played Initial D again and we ended on the half pipe. Once we were done we took a short break on the deck of the building and watched the sunset for a bit before splitting up again.

Dan went to Diver City (mall) to grab souvenirs for his family and I went to the Toyota City Showcase.

Toyota City Showcase

The Toyota City Showcase is comprised of three exhibits, the History Museum, the showroom and the Ride One center where you can book an appointment to test drive a Toyota of your choice around their special test track. I had booked an appointment to drive an 86 at 19:00, but by the time I got there, I knew I’d have to rush to make it, so I didn’t even bother.

IMG_6826Toyota City Showcase – History Museum

Instead I focused on the History Museum. It was actually really cool featuring cars in set locations. There was much more than just Toyota’s there and on the lower level they even had rally cars. After seeing everything there, I made my way to the showroom.

This is exactly like it sounds, a giant Toyota showroom. However, it featured a lot of the Japan only cars we don’t get in America. I sat in a bunch of them before heading out to grab food. My dogs were barking so it was nice to sit.

I ate dinner at this fast food restaurant right next to a giant ferris wheel, the hundredth one we’d seen on this trip. (Not really but there have been a ton). After dinner I walked 20-ish minutes to Tokyo Big Sight

Tokyo Big Sight

IMG_6841Tokyo Big Sight

I knew Tokyo Big Sight would be closed but I mainly wanted to see it because of the cool architecture. I got a few pictures of the outside before hanging out in the lobby for a bit. My feet were killing me but I had two more things to see.

Ariake Colosseum

I walked from Tokyo Big Sight to the Ariake Colosseum. Again I knew it would be closed but I merely wanted to look at it and take pictures. I got there after miles of walking and got what I wanted. I was planning on seeing the Aquatic center as well but I was too dead to walk there. So I made my way back to the train and took the hour long ride back to the room.


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Another NY Adventure – Day 2

—Saturday April 26th

The apartment, and roughly everyone in it, woke up around 10am. We all slowly got ready for the day and then, by around 11am, me, Steve, and Tom made our way into the city.

SilverGuyAnother day, another dollar

We got off at Marcy Ave and ended up at this bagel place that Tom knew about. Some of the bagels they had on their own were extravagant, like the bacon and cheddar bagel Steve ordered. However, there was also a large assortment of cream cheeses and combinations of breakfast sandwiches that looked delicious.

OyVeyOy Vey, we have to cross this entire bridge!?

After finishing our food we made our way over to the Williamsburg Bridge where we decided to walk across rather than get back on the train and waste another swipe on our MetroCard.

WilliamsburgBridge“Artsy” pic of the J train crossing the Williamsburg Bridge.

Unfortunately, the side we entered on was supposed to be for bicycles only, so, along the way we were verbally berated by cyclists telling us we were on the wrong side. Eventually, at around the center of the bridge, there was an opportunity to cross over to the other side, so we did.

TomMeSteveTom, Me, and Steve; almost in Manhattan.

The rest of the way was smoother and we were entertained by a woman who’s dog had to bark at every cyclist that passed them. Finally, upon reaching the other side, we made our way into Manhattan in search of a sidewalk vender who supposedly sells really cool records. However, upon reaching the street he was supposed to be on, he wasn’t there. We then made our way out to a main drag and figured out a new game-plan. Tom suggested we check out this old bar he’d been talking about. We all agreed and so, we went there.

McSorleysAn overview of McSorley’s from our seat right next to the front door.

Enter McSorley’s Old Ale House, a 160-year-old (1854) bar with more character than any other old bar I’ve ever been to. Everything from the walls to the floors to the tables is made of splintery wood. The walls are covered in framed characters, newspaper articles, and photographs of things long gone. The floor is “mopped” the old fashion way, covered in saw dust to dry all the spilled beer. Behind the bar are a pair of handcuffs used by Houdini himself and hanging above it are wishbones left by soldiers who never came back to claim them.

McSorleys2I went for dark.

Drinking is made real simple, light or dark the server asks, and then returns moments later with two mugs of whatever you chose. You don’t ask for two, but you get two anyway. McSorley’s is a relic of the past. Up until the 1970s women weren’t even allowed in. It’s a place lost in time in the ever-changing fabric of Manhattan. (I realize how cliche all of that was.)

While sitting and chatting with Tom and Steve, I overheard the gentleman sitting next to us talking about making porter and stout. Remembering I had my Field Notes in my pocket, I tapped the man on the shoulder and struck up a conversation. I showed him the notebook, and explained that FN did a set of special edition notebooks, Ales and Lagers. The one I had on me was the “stout” from the Ales 3-pack. The man was intrigued and it was cool to share an experience, if only a brief one, with a complete stranger.

After downing our beers we made our way to Kim’s Video & Music. They were having a “going out of business” sale and so we scoured the store looking for deals. I find, personally, whenever I’m in a record store with such a vast collection, that I don’t know where to begin. I’m quickly overwhelmed by the selection and instantly forget what I was looking for; if in fact I was looking for anything. So, I basically just wandered back and forth while Steve and Tom thumbed through the records until they were finally done.

After finishing at Kim’s, we made our way over to a somewhat nearby dumpling place. This place was great because it was cheap. Though I wasn’t hungry, I bought my dinner, eight dumpling’s for $2.50! The deal of a lifetime, especially for New York. After sitting, chatting and eating, or in my case, watching Steve and Tom eat, we hopped on the train and took it back to Brooklyn.

There we chilled from around 5-7. I watched some TV  (anime that Alyssa and Antonio showed me) and organized some of my stuff. After that I went to the grocery store and bought beer for the night. When I got back I used Steve’s computer to write the outline for this and yesterday’s post. After that, Steve and Tom made hot dogs. Once we were all finished, me, Steve and Tom made our way back out into the night.

BarcadeThe inside of Barcade as seen from the back right side of the space. In front to the left was the bar. Along the wall to the right were the arcade games.

The first stop on the list was the Barcade. I had heard about this place from the guys back in October of 2012 and have wanted to go ever since. Though I’m not much of an arcade kind of guy -it wasn’t an interest or integral part of my life like it is for so many other males my age- it was still something I was interested in checking out. As it turned out, I was somewhat unimpressed.

OutRunTom playing OutRun. This was the only game I played and I sucked at it. I figured I’d be safe with a racing game (plus there’s the whole Kavinsky connection)… I was wrong.

However, there were several factors it had going against it that made me feel this way. 1) it had been hyped too much (by my own brain), 2) it was very crowded, 3) it was very hot, and 4) I was wearing too many layers so I had to juggle my phone, beer, sweatshirt and jacket while trying to hang out. After only playing one game of OutRun and watching the guys play a few other games, we decided to move on.

We stumbled through Brooklyn to some random bar so Steve could pee, then ended up at a place called Clem’s. There I shared with them the asterisk story I had been promising them the whole weekend long. Then, after one last round, we grabbed a cab and took it back to the apartment for a relatively early night.

Once home, me and Tom watched a little bit of the first episode of BBC America’s The Real History of Science Fiction until around 15 minutes in, Tom fell asleep. This worked out for the best because I was tired too and thus went to bed.

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