Where The Wind Takes Me – Day 1

Where The Wind Takes Me Series - Table of Contents

EntryNotable Places/EventsStart of DayEnd of Day
Day 0 - Apr 21-22 2024Plane (Edmonton > Tokyo)Edmonton, CanadaTokyo, Japan
Day 1 - Tue Apr 23 2024Akihabara, Sensoji, Tokyo Sky Arena, Taiwan Food FestivalTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 2 - Wed Apr 24 2024Nezu Shrine, Tokyo National MuseumTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 3 - Thu Apr 25 2024Akihabara, Ginza, Yurakucho, Bocchi the Rock! Exhibition (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 4 - Fri Apr 26 2024Craft Gyoza Fes, Niku Fes, Odaiba, Kameido Tenjin ShrineTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 5 - Sat Apr 27 2024Niconico Chokaigi 2024Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 6 - Sun Apr 28 2024M3-53Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 7 - Mon Apr 29 2024Train (Tokyo > Osaka)Tokyo, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 8 - Tue Apr 30 2024Tsurumibashi, Expo Commemorative Park, Osaka Station (with Miyu)Osaka, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 9 - Wed May 01 2024Kyoto, Takenobu Inari Shrine, SaiinOsaka, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 10 - Thu, May 02 2024Train (Osaka > Tokyo)Osaka, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 11 - Fri May 03 2024Reitaisai 21Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 12 - Sat May 04 2024Japan Jam 2024 (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 13 - Sun May 05 2024National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 14 - Mon May 06 2024Haneda International Airport, Plane (Tokyo > Taipei), Liaoning Night MarketTokyo, JapanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 15 - Tue May 07 2024Taipei Main Station Underground Mall, Ximending Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 16 - Wed May 08 2024Shilin Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 17 - Thu May 09 2024Raohe Street Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 18 - Fri May 10 2024Songjiang Market, Guang Hua Digital Plaza, Shida Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 19 - Sat May 11 2024Dihua Street, Huaxi Street Night Market, Guangzhou Street Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 20 - Sun May 12 2024Gongguan Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 21 - Mon May 13 2024Plane (Taipei > HK), Train (HK > Guangzhou), Stayed with KelTaipei, TaiwanGuangzhou, China
Day 22 - Tue May 14 2024Zhongfu Square, Alpaca Sighting (with Kel), Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 23 - Wed May 15 2024Panyu Square, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 24 - Thu May 16 2024Nancun Wanbo (with Kel), Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 25 - Fri May 17 2024Train (Guangzhou > Xiamen), Zhongshan RoadGuangzhou, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 26 - Sat May 18 2024Xiamen Railway StationXiamen, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 27 - Sun May 19 2024Mingfa Shopping MallXiamen, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 28 - Mon May 20 2024Train (Xiamen > Guangzhou), Stayed with KelXiamen, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 29 - Tue May 21 2024Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 30 - Wed May 22 2024Tianhe Computer Town, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 31 - Thu May 23 2024Comic City, Shangxiajiu Square, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 32 - Fri May 24 2024Train (Guangzhou > Hong Kong)Guangzhou, ChinaHong Kong, China

Tuesday, Apr 23 2024 (Day 1)

I woke up to a nasty surprise this fine day — my home computer was bieng unresponsive. I knew its IP address and I had accessed it via remote desktop from Calgary just fine, but by the time I got to Tokyo and tried it nothing was working. I managed to get Jon back home in Edmonton to take a little drive over to my place, since thankfully I had arranged it so that he and my parents had the spare key to the place. He popped in to the apartment and found that the computer had turned itself off somehow, even though the router and microwave and everything was still on. Very mysterious. Once he powered it back on, I checked the event logs and found that it went off at 2:19 pm on the 21st (Mountain Time), but also found that there were no logs whatsoever that gave any sort of clue as to what had happened to it, which was slightly concerning, but I guess not as concerning as there actually being catastrophic error logs.

Jon also took the $15 Starbucks gift card that I had as payment for coming over, since I never visit Starbucks at all, so now I’m glad that the moving company had sent that together with their apology card so that I had something to give him for the trouble of coming over to turn on my computer!

I only had one gift card, but later in the night I found that the computer had gone dead again, and after a bit of cursory research I suspect that what is happening is that the computer is powering down into Hibernate mode after 8 or 12 hours, and Remote Desktop can’t break into that shell to wake it up. Next time Jon passes by the area and turns it on again, I’ll check those settings to be sure.

For some reason, plane tickets from Tokyo to China in general, but especially around the week that I want to travel down there, seem rather pricey. After doing some cursory research, I might switch around my itinerary so that I go to Taipei first, as flying Tokyo to Taiwan is something like 1/3 the cost of flying Tokyo to mainland China, and then spend some time there before heading down to Guangzhou (either directly, or via Hong Kong). Plus all those Tokyo to Taiwan flights are nonstop, whereas a lot of the ones to Guangzhou require a transit or two here or there.

Anyway, after waking up this morning, I asked Allen, my lodging host, about a way to make it so I could use my laptop more easily. He brought in one of these weird floor chairs:

The back is reclinable and goes down as low as flat on the floor and as high as needed, and the tray portion also can be lowered entirely to the ground to act as a legreset, or raised up to act as a table. I don’t actually like sitting in it, I find it really uncomfortable, but I moved the entire chair next to the head of my bed, and then put the table portion up and set my laptop up on it, and now I have a perfectly functional and illuminated table to put my laptop on at a suitable height, while I sit on my bed and type on it. So that’s good.

I also noted to them this morning that the floor 3 bidet was a bit broken, with a couple of the buttons being dysfunctional, and Allen came to look at it and said that they would work on fixing it but that I would be welcome to use the floor 2 or floor 4 bathrooms in the meantime if desired.

For breakfast this morning, I went out to a nearby bakery in the shoutengai (shopping street) and poached a piece of egg and bacon bread that looked weird but interesting, and some croquette-like pastry, fresh out of the oven. They were both delicious.

I dawdled awhile in my room, doing some blog work and also coordinating with Jon on that computer issue, before heading out for the day. I walked back to the nearby Higashi-Jujo Station and took the train to Akihabara Station from there, which was like 5 stops/15 minutes away. I got reacquainted with an old friend along the way, namely the train delay notifications board:

I spent a couple hours walking around Akihabara and going into various stores there, but I didn’t actually take any blog-worthy pictures of the place, I’d been there several times before and I felt like I was now familiar enough with both the station and the surrounding area that I could navigate the area fairly easily without referring to a map much. Also I had arrived a bit early (before 11 am) so some of the stores weren’t even opened yet. Also it was drizzling. Seriously. Of the 5 times that I have been to Akihabara in the past, it’s been raining 3.5 times, the three prior times being here, here, and here. The .5 was here, because it started drizzling after I left. And the only time it hasn’t rained was here. Since it was drizzling today, the score is now 4.5 to 1.5.

I wandered in and out of a few stores, in particular checking out Volks because I knew there was a Yuru Camp section there that I had taken pictures of in the past, and Quintopia wanted to know if it was still there so that he could make some time to swing by if so, as that was a series that both of us liked a lot. It indeed was still there, along with some Bocchi the Rock! merchandise and signage, another series that we both adore.

There was also a Yuuki Yuuna exhibit next to those two, which makes three of my top ten or so anime in a relatively small area, so that was nice. No plushies or anything tempting like that though, although I saw a bunch of Yuuki Yuuna character-based temple prayer book (goshuincho) there that I was very tempted by. The size of those books was a bit smaller than the book that I already had though, so I wasn’t sure if that was something that could actually be used in temples and shrines or not. It was also pricey enough that I didn’t bite on it. Instead, I bought a Yuru Camp clear file:

And besides that it was cheap enough at 440 yen, the reason I bought that was that this was my smartphone lock screen picture:

Same two characters, dressed in the same outfits and in the same location, though at a slightly different angle and posture. I did a double take when I recognized the picture on the clear file, decided it was fate, and grabbed it off the rack that it was on. I’m not sure exactly what the histories of both pictures are, but one is obviously inspired from the other, or both share a common third picture or scene as inspiration.

Anyway, although I did also visit a couple of second-hand CD stores, I wasn’t feeling it this visit and thus bought nothing else my entire trip there. I left just before 1 pm, deciding to walk all the way from Akihabara to the Tokyo Skytree, which was about 1 and a half hours across the city on foot. I passed by many big and small streets and different buildings along the way, and thoroughly enjoyed this leisurely walk away from the touristy areas of the city, although there was still a good amount of people wherever I went. I allowed the wind to blow me down this and that side road as I winded my way across the city grid toward my destination, and took a bunch of photos along the way to share.

The rain had subsided by this point so that wasn’t a worry, although I passed by a couple train stations that I could have ducked into if it did start pouring. I passed by a number of restaurants along the way that looked really tempting:

Two or three shops had a long line of locals queued up outside of them, which means that they were good shops for sure! I didn’t stop for lunch at any of them though because I was headed for some sort of Taiwanese food festival that was purpotedly at the Sky Arena in the Tokyo Skytree, and didn’t want to become full long before I reached the food festival.

The route from Akihabara to Tokyo Skytree took me by Asakusa, specifically Sensoji Temple, one of the main temples of our family’s patron deity, Kuanyin. It is a very famous temple, and I had been here already in the past, but it was only a 20 minute detour past a gaggle of tourists to get in to the temple to mutter a prayer for Mom and and get another temple stamp/goshuin for my book while I was here. There were an insane number of people here, and I have no idea how the monks and nuns and other attendants working here ever get anything done when the place is always overrun. I could barely swing a camera lens anywhere without hitting people taking pictures of things.

And then I got my temple stamp:

Sensoji had two main hand-drawn goshuin stamps to collect, and the last time I was here I had collected the other one, so now I have both types in my book.

(Pictures in that building were not allowed, but I acquired permission to take a picture of that sign as the restriction was largely for pictures of the attendants, the back room, and the drawing process.)

Eventually, I made my way to the Tokyo Skytree, and the Sky Arena on the 4th floor. The entire walk, and the diversion to Sensoji Temple, took me a little over two hours, and my feet and back were killing me. Admission was free to this part of the Skytree, as there was basically a shopping mall in the lower floors of the building, and a few outdoor areas connected to it. I didn’t go to the top of the Skytree, which I think would have taken a bit over 3,000 yen, all just to take pictures that I can find elsewhere on the internet already. Plus the sky was cloudy and a bit gloomy. Instead, I stuck down below, visiting the venue where the Taiwanese Food Festival was being held.

It honestly wasn’t that impressive, like many things in Tokyo I think the event page (local) itself overstated the actual event and made it look more impressive than it actually was. But there were about eight stores or so selling various food, a couple miscellaneous stores selling produce or massages on the side, and a small tented area in the middle where there were quite a few visitors to the area eating and drinking.

I went about and tried three different things here, firstly some Taiwanese Tea since I was parched and am always on the lookout for new teas to add to my Tigey‘s Tea Tasters Guild Report anyway.

It was okay. Small, for 500 yen, and not particularly good or bad. Next I tried a bowl of fried cucumber in squid:

This was really filling, though rather dry as expected. There was also a lot of onion in there, almost an overpowering amount, though I like onion in general. To wash all that down, I went with a bowl of pork noodle soup, which sounded generic enough that I’m not sure you could really call it a Taiwanese dish, but hey.

The second dish was definitely worth the cost in terms of portion size, the first and third were not, but both definitely did help wash down the second.

On the way out of the area, I snapped a picture of these two mailboxes that somewhat amused me:

How weird, they’re both leaning in the same direction. I then wandered around the Tokyo Skytree mall area for a bit, before taking the train system home — this required three different trains and took slightly over one hour, and my pocket WiFi device did not like being charged while it was in use so it was at 10% battery power and screaming for juice, but it got me home safely nonetheless.

Although Allen had said that many shops in the shoutengai where my lodging and his shop was were closed on Tuesdays as part of a local holiday tradition, a good number of the shops were still open, including his:

Also, of the shops that were closed, I saw this one, whose giant eraser hanging outside the shop amused me a bit.

I went into the shop and met both Allen and his wife, Masae, and spent about half an hour chatting to them until they started to close up the shop. They were both super nice, and I told them about my planned trip and my previous trips here, and about Singapore and Canada, while they talked about their personal histories, plus the Jujo shopping street that we were on and how it was renowned as one of the cheapest shopping districts in Tokyo, and some nice shops around the area that I could consider visiting. There were apparently three other shoutengai in the area too that were not directly connected to the one we were in, as I understood it, and Allen suggested that I explore those tomorrow as it was going to be raining tomorrow. He said that they closed their store in the rain even though the shopping street itself was covered, because rain and the leather of their displayed shoes didn’t go well together.

I thoroughly enjoyed the chat though, and when the topic invariably shifted to Canada and then Edmonton, I gave them one of my 15 postcards after writing down my name and the date on it. I then went up, had a bath, and promptly fell asleep for hours, only waking up at 1 am to start the work day and blog, to the sound of pitter-pattering rain on some metal sheet outside the window somewhere. Oops. I guess jet lag and the exhaustion from walking did me in. Sadly, neither Google Fit nor the equivalent Samsung Health app were set up on my new(ish) Samsung Galaxy phone, so it didn’t track the number of steps I took today. Google Maps still tracked the walking route in general I did though, at least, from Akihabara Station to the Tokyo Skytree, with a detour to Sensoji along the way.

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 0

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 2

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