Where The Wind Takes Me – Day 3

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

Thursday, Apr 25 2024 (Day 3)

The first point of order is that I remembered today that I had not redeemed my stash of Scene+ points (the Scotiabank/Safeway rewards program) toward my travel yet. This rewards program lets me apply the best rate that they have (100 points = $1 CAD) toward any purchase that I make in the travel category specifically up to one year after I make the actual purchase, though there is a 5,000 point minimum redemption and each purchase can only be redeemed against once. So I don’t have to have points to cover the entire purchase, but I can’t partially claim against it and then come back later on and try to claim against the remainder.

All that was fine for me though. It’s the best redemption, as I noted, and is better than their “100 points = $1 CAD” redemption against groceries becuause I don’t then gain the points that I would have gotten from the discounted portion of the purchase, which, with my card, gives me something like 3 points per dollar spent or something. I’m not even actually convinced that I get points from a partially redeemed grocery purchase, either.

Anyway, I had collected 32,432 points in my Scene+ account over the course of the last year. So I applied that against my plane tickets and got $324.32 back. That felt good. Or it will feel good in 2-3 days when it actually clears and I get my reward.

I had seen a store named Sukiya yesterday on Higashi-Jujo Shopping Street advertising breakfast, so I went back there today. As I understand it, Sukiya is a widespread fast food franchise specializing in cheap Japanese beef bowls and rice set meals. The food was fairly good, very cheap, and quite fast, though I only saw one woman working in the staff area and wasn’t sure how she dealt with both cooking the orders and cleaning and washing up used bowls and trays. Maybe there was someone else hidden in the back. Anyway, I ordered the sausage rice set, and saw an option to add natto as well, and I did so, for a total of 420 + 70 = 490 yen. The natto in the picture is in the styrofoam box under the bowl in the bottom right.

My plan this day was to meet Quintopia later in the evening at Matsuya Ginza for an evening Bocchi the Rock! event, so I didn’t want to do anything too strenuous in the morning or early afternoon. I was a little behind on work and the blog since I fall asleep so fast in the evenings, so I headed back toward my lodging after breakfast, planning to spend some time catching up on all of those instead. I also bought a towel, since apparently my apartment in Chiba, booked from when I return from Osaka, will not provide one, and I received a message noting that I should bring a towel along with me. It can line the bottom of my suitcase while not in use. I might end up changing that booking if I find a decent apartment for as cheap though.

Lunch was at a Hong Kong restaurant, and consisted of vegetable noodle soup with half-fried rice. Half-fried rice as the name of a cooking style/dish name always sounds very weird to me.

I didn’t find it bad, but neither did I find it particularly good. After lunch, I took the train over to Akihabara, again, because that was about three stations over from Ginza, where I was going to meet Quintopia, and I still had a couple of hours to kill before we met. He had touched down and was making his way to his hotel as I wandered in and out of some more second-hand stores and bought a couple of rarer CDs from a series that I like, while chatting to him over Discord. It wasn’t raining this time, so the rain to no-rain score is now 4.5 to 2.5. Amazing.

Because Ginza was about three stations away, and I had about three hours to go, I decided for a third day in a row to take a 45+ minute walk across the city to view the sights, feel the wind, and hurt the shoulders. I ran into some interesting shops along the way, the first one being this one that sold onion-shaped items, slime plushies from Dragon Quest, a bunch of general gifts, and a plushie called Nanoha, the mascot character of Sumoto City, in Hyogo Prefecture, which is a city way to the west. It’s even a little west of Osaka, where I am headed to in a few days. I’m guessing the general gifts in the store were Sumoto-related too, since the name of the shop was Sumotokan (Sumoto Shop), but it’s kind of weird that they had a shop where I found it, far away from touristy areas.

Sadly, they didn’t sell any hyper-local CDs that I could buy, but they had Nanoha plushies, so I picked up one.

According to a Google Translate of the note, Nanoha is an elf and represents nanohana, the city’s official flower. It also goes towards supporting children in a small city whose population is apparently slowly dwindling, so that’s nice.

Not far along, I found another interesting shop. This was a pop-up shop dedicated to sumo wrestling.

It uh, wasn’t my thing, but I went in and had a look around anyway. No special CDs were to be found. Not that I know what a sumo-specific CD could possibly be about (I don’t count or care about Bluray or DVD disks) but that’s part of the fun.

Anyway, 45+ minutes later, I reached Matsuya Ginza with about two hours to spare before our meeting and event. I took the time to recce the building, going up to the 8th floor to see the event area, up to the 9th floor to look at the rooftop terrace and overpriced vending machines and a little shrine there, and then down to the basement level to look at the overpriced bento boxes and gift booths there. I never knew the term for them, but Quintopia taught me that they are called depachika. Department basements. I ate at the one at Kyoto Station several times during my first trip to Kyoto because Akira, who was my Airbnb host at that point, was a big proponent of that, but I’ve also seen similar things at other posh department stores in Japan and even Singapore before.

They’re generally pricey though, and the one in Matsuya Ginza was definitely not worth it to me, so I went to scout around the area instead, looking at a bunch of food stores near Yurakucho Station, which was about three streets away and a lot cheaper. I found a seedy-looking tunnel under some train tracks leading to a couple bars or restaurants that were hidden away from society, and decided that that wasn’t a good path to go down. (I did go down it though, and back, but everytime a train ran by overhead the entire area shook.)

Eventually Quintopia came by and we met back at Matsuya Ginza, exchanged niceties and money (as I owed him some for tickets), and went off to get a snack from a nearby bakery. We then headed back to the venue to line up. There were 10 minute timeslots starting every 20 minutes, so like 6:00-6:10, 6:20-6:30, and 6:40-6:50, for  example, Each ticket also came with a specific number in the queue in our assigned timeslot for us to stand, so it wasn’t a first-come-first-serve sort of thing, and people were let in in groups of 5 at a time to view the Bocchi the Rock! exhibition that we had come to see.

Quintopia had somehow managed to get tickets #1 and #2 for the 6:00 pm timeslot, so we were right in front. We were there right as the timeslot opened, and it looked like it was just us for a minute or so, but suddenly a hoard of locals swooped in and the queue filled up behind us. At the end of the waiting time period, so 6:10 for our time slot, they started to let us in in aforementioned groups of five. Some pictures from the exhibit follow.

Also here’s a picture of Quintopia and me waiting in line in the queue:

And a couple that he took of Tigey and me.

Large chunks of the exhibition were, of course, not allowed to be photographed, or were things like videos and music that were pointless to photograph. There was also a room where they played us snippets of the upcoming Bocchi the Rock! movie, spread out amongst about ten or so televisions that were positioned in a chaotic mosaic pattern. It wasn’t anything special though, in the sense that it was going to be a compilation movie anyway, so all the scenes that they showed us were scenes that were already from the existing TV episodes that we all watched. They also used this screening, which took somewhere between five and ten minutes, as a buffer for people entering the gift shop that immediately followed, since you couldn’t get to the latter without going through the former and they didn’t let people into the room except for a brief period of time before each screening started.

The gift shop was expensive, and about one-quarter of the items were sold out anyway since we were fairly late into the exhibition run date and fairly late into the current day’s runtime as well. But still, I ended up picking a few things from it — including an acrylic stand featuring Nijika, who has since become my favourite anime character after I watched the TV anime broadcast, a plushie of her with a retro anime sort of look in her eyes that I’m not sure I like yet, a clear file featuring all four main characters, and a clothespeg/signboard thing commemorating the event like the one I picked up from Nagoya two Japan trips ago for Tigey. The cashier also added a random print in a small sealed bag that turned out to be a picture of Kita, my second-favourite character from the show, so that turned out okay too. Here they are next to Nanoha and a confused Tigey.

We went out for dinner after that, visiting a Japanese fast food beef bowl/gyudon store named Yoshinoya. I had eaten at Yoshinoya twice before, once on my first trip to Japan on Nov 03 2022 in Tokyo and once on my second trip to Japan on Jun 08 2023 together with Zian in Kyoto. I had remembered the second one far more friendly, including the gyoza dishes that they had, but this store didn’t have gyoza and was cramped and the experience I had was much closer to the first time I visited, which was just passable, rather than the second one which I had remembered fondly.

It was at least cheap and decent though. And they brought Quintopia‘s frying pan of meat out on a little gas stove so that it was cooking on his tray in front of him, all Korean barbeque style. They didn’t do the same for me even though our dishes were similar, so that was rude. How dare mine be fully cooked by the time it got to me!

Also, Quintopia scoured Wikipedia and found that Yoshinoya was noted to be the second largest Japanese fast food chain that there was, with the #1 most prolific chain being Sukiya, the store that I had eaten at this morning. That was an interesting coincidence.

After dinner, we walked around the downtown area a while before ending back at his hotel, which apparently was just about ten to fifteen minutes away on foot. I saw him off there, then wandered over to a train station and caught it back to Jujo Shopping Street, arriving home sometime past 9pm. The Ginza area was nice to walk around at night, though.

While chatting, Quintopia had introduced me to Pikmin Bloom, a free Nintendo/Niantic game that doubled as a walking app tracker where you hatch little anthropomorphic flower minions and then walk around the world with them, leaving flowers and grass in your wake and occasionally fighting mushrooms or something, in a very not-quite-but-almost Pokemon Go way. So anyway, I now have three step counter apps, between that, Google Fit, and Samsung Health. Despite having blisters from the previous day, they didn’t really affect me on this day and I apparently broke my record from the day before, walking for somewhere between 25,115 steps (according to Google Fit) and 25,509 steps (according to Samsung Health) on this day. Since I only installed Pikmin Bloom near the end of the day, that one only got to record about a thousand steps or so, but it will probably net me a lot of steps and flowers or whatever the game mechanic is over the course of the next few days.

I did laundry once I returned home, although they said that I couldn’t use the dryer that late at night due to the noise. They did offer to let me do my laundry, or even to do my laundry for me, the next morning/afternoon instead, and said that I could use the dryer then if I wanted, otherwise if I wanted to do it at night then I would have to hang my clothes up to dry on a clothing pole instead. I picked the latter though since I didn’t have that many clothes and wanted to get my outdoor clothes in particular free of that old Canadian grime. So I hung everything up to dry after the 35 minute washer cycle and retrieved my clothing into my room an hour and change afterwards.

There were two new groups of guests that arrived this evening to the lodging as well. One was a single guy that got slotted into the room next to me (which I noticed was as small but had a normal mattress on the ground instead of this ridiculous double decker bed), and the other was a mother and child pair that got one of the rooms on the level above. Between the new guests and the actual owners of the house, I learnt that the floors are really, really noisy and the interior walls dont keep out sound as well, and it’s very irritating when people who don’t know any better insist that everyone else listens to their footfalls as they walk by. Didn’t I just escape this situation back home? The place is so going to get docked marks for this, especially when I also found that the 3rd floor bidet was now completely not working at all.

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 2

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 4

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