Where The Wind Takes Me – Day 4

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

Friday, Apr 26 2024 (Day 4)

Craft Gyoza Fes 2024

It was a lot quieter in the guesthouse today — there were some noises in the morning, but almost none at all at night, perhaps some of the guests that arrived yesterday were here just to stay overnight for one night. What I did see in the house today though was Allen‘s dog:

Her name is Goma, which means little sesame, and she’s 1.5 years old. The little guide booklet in my room says that she’s a skittish shelter dog and describes her as a “cotton candy dog”. Not sure that is a proper translation, but who am I to argue?

My goals for the day were to visit two food festivals, one dedicated to gyoza and one to meat in general. Both were fairly far from where I lived and fairly far from each other, so there was a lot of train hopping today, especially once I tried to hit a third event after that that was out of the way from everything else too. I basically made a big diamond around the central-southern part of Tokyo though, first to the south, then to the east, then to the north, and then west back home. Google Fit claims I walked 21,725 steps today, Samsung Health clocked me in at 22,038 steps, and Pikmin Bloom granted me 21,725 as well, in perfect lockstep with Google Fit, so I guess that’s what it uses. It chews up my battery noticeably quicker as well, so I’m not sure I’ll keep it around.

Anyway, to start the day, I caught the train down to Komazawa Daigaku Station on the Denentoshi Line, which is a line that I had not ridden on before. This line took me into Setagaya Ward and past Sangenjaya, the counterpart reference of the main neighbourhood (and ward) called Yongenjaya where the Persona 5 game is set in. San being 3 and Yon being 4 when translated. But it isn’t a 1-1 recreation or anything like that so it isn’t a pilgrimage spot, just a regular neighbourhood, so I paid it no mind as I went into Komazawa Park instead, passing rows of bushes, children, picnickers, cyclists and runners, and even a soccer game.

The gyoza festival itself was somewhat easy to find, both because there were helpers pointing the way to the people slowly trickling into the park, and because it was next to this tall thing:

Whatever that was. The event itself had free admission, and consisted of a line of stalls with barkers holding up “This is the end of the line” signs despite the event being not very crowded at all, and trying to get people to visit their stall and try their food over their counterparts. According to event guides, this event could get very, very crowded, but I had probably come early enough that none of that chaos had happened yet (plus this was a weekday afternoon).

Each plate of gyoza cost 700 yen, but the food stalls didn’t accept  cash or credit card. One could pay via Suica/Pasmo card though, which I had to do for the first one until I figured out what was going on, or one could use a ticket booth located just outside the gate to purchase food tickets for 700 yen each with cash. I bought 3 tickets, and along with the one that I paid for using my transit card, ended up eating four different bowls of gyoza here.

First up was this “forbidden butter gyoza” which combined into something that was definitely nice enough to be illegal:

Then this alleged Singapore-style Sansen fried gyoza that didn’t particularly taste like Singapore but still was good:

Then these Saga Beef gravy gyoza where they lightly charred one side of the gyoza for additional flavour:

And finally this Yakimochi gyoza with what was a really interesting gravy on top, supposedly topped with grated flying fish, green onions, and seaweed. The gravy itself reminded me of a very light, fluffy, and slightly sticky porridge, at least sticky in the natto sort of way rather than in a clumpy way. The gyoza was good too, and was used to mop up every last drop of the gravy.

All of them were great, although my favourite was the Kobe beef one.

Niku Fes 2024 and Odaiba

But I ultimately didn’t want to spend too much here because gyoza are not particularly filling as a meal, and i had a second food festival event to go to as well. So fast forwarding an hour and a half later, and I found myself at the other festival, this one down in Odaiba, the large, artificial island in Tokyo Bay. Parts of this looked strikingly similar, from the signage and ticket booth outside to the line of food stalls with barkers at the end of them inside:

The tickets here also cost 700 yen each, and I had scanned a copy of one of the tickets from the first festival, the Craft Gyoza Fes 2024, so I purchased four from this second one, the Niku Fes (Meat Festival) 2024 and scanned one of them too.

They’re not exactly the same, but not particularly dissimilar either, and both events started on the same day, so I wonder if they were somehow related or even organized by the same event production company. Both events even sold “fast lane” tickets for 500 yen each, that one could additionally use to skip the line at any stall (but the food still needed to be separately paid for). There was an Oktoberfest food event being set up next to the Niku Fes in Odaiba too, but it was not open yet.

Niku Fes definitely had several things that the Craft Gyoza one didn’t though. For starters, it had multiple mascots, the first one visible in one of the pictures above and the second one captured forever here:

It had a theme song, even though the song was just repeating the name of the event over and over, and a weird slogan:

There was a DJ booth in the middle with people dancing out to all sorts of anime songs, I recognized stuff from Wake Up, Girls!, The iDOLM@STER, Aikatsu!, Zombieland Saga, an insert from Occult Academy that I know is a real song outside of the show but I don’t know the exact origin of, and more. The people gathered around the stage included a number of people that were dressed in things like iDOLM@STER shirts and doing wotagei, complex dances that were all choreographed and coordinated online for specific songs and it was quite neat to see. They were here for a musical event in a VIP area later on featuring several voice actresses, but I wasn’t around for that, nor did I pay for that event anyway.

There were also screens playing anime clips from the Tis Time for “Torture”, Princess! anime, which aired last season and which I really liked, but was nonetheless surprised to see here. There was even a cutout of the main character:

I guess they’re busy promoting their season 2. A good portion of the show did involve eating things though, so it wasn’t terribly out of place.

The one bad thing about this event is that each little bowl of meat here cost *two* 700 yen tickets here, so even the four tickets that I was willing to buy did not go far at all. Plus the barkers formed an intimidating line since there was barely anyone queued up on the afternoon of the first day of this event either. I took a booklet and scanned (and translated) the list of what the stores were offering, before going directly to the stalls to order. The first one I picked was some grilled, aged beef tongue from Sendai:

Which was nice, but I mean, that’s all I got for 1,400 yen. The second dish I picked was Hokkaido Saroma Wagyu Rib Loin Steak, with real wasabi on the side:

The stall proprietor also gave me a small paper apron with a meat theme on the front, which I guess was meant to be used as a bib in case of spillage, but I didn’t use it as I’m not 12 years old, so I ended up keeping it as a souvenir.

The first dish was nice and succulent, but the second meat dish was tender and juicy and a lot of other nice adjectives and I definitely liked it more. I didn’t think that either one was worth the price I paid for them though.

After not quite eating my fill, I walked around Odaiba for a bit. While it was a very touristy place, it was still a very nice place, wide open with views of the bay and several malls and attractions around. Like this guy, the Unicorn Gundam:

And this Fuji Television building:

These views of the bay and Tokyo’s downtown district:

This very maigo (lost) thing:

And in general there were lots of students here as well, either here as part of a school trip or using Odaiba as an after-school hangout location, I’m not quite sure which. I did manage to catch this picture of some girls doing a Kirara Jump though:

If my trip had a bingo card of things that I wanted to witness on the trip, this would have been on it. See this post for more info.

Kameido Tenjin Shrine, Kinshicho

By this time, it was pushing 3:30 pm, and there was one more place that I had wanted to visit, Kameido Tenjin Shrine to the north and east of where I was (though basically everything in Tokyo is north of Odaiba), but it was about an hour away from me by train. There was a Kameido Tenjin Wisteria Festival going on there, but the event page for it had said that although the temple was open 24/7, the actual festival portion would be closing at 5 pm. And although I could get there before 5 pm, I figured whatever festival stalls there were there, as well as the goshuin office, would usually start closing up by 4:30 pm. I decided to try anyway though.

The train ride was long and stressful, it was packed and the blisters in my feet were acting up again, but we made it there somehow. I got to the shrine at 4:40 pm:

But alas about 2/3 of the festival stores were already closed. I was craving for some kakigoori (shaved ice) after all the food I had eaten that day, but I had been unwilling to shell out the 700-1100 yen for them at the stalls in Odaiba, and none of those stalls were left open here. Oh well.

There was a monkey tamer and her monkey still performing tricks for their audience though:

And the temple stamp office was still open, so i even got a handpainted goshuin for my troubles (and 500 yen). Furthermore, they even gave me some free candy.

I realized at this point that I had forgotten to put a picture of the Nezu Shrine one in my Day 2 post, so I went back and put that in too.

Kameido Tenjin Shrine was laid out in a rather interesting manner, as the area before the actual shrine buildings was a large square area with ponds in the middle, and bridges and pathways cutting between the ponds, as though dividing a very large pond into several smaller ones in a slightly haphazard fashion. And then around the outside of that was a walkway which was half-filled with stalls. There were trellises everywhere and wisteria growing on bushes and railings and on the trellises, and it looked like this:

It was quite pretty. Oh, and quite free. There were a fair number of people walking about even though it was relatively far from the nearest station, and even though most of the stalls had closed and the temple itself was winding down for the day.

I hobbled around the temple once and then started to make my way back toward the station. Pulling myself past several restaurants and food places along the way, I contemplated having dinner in a food court in one of the malls but instead ended up at a roadside restaurant called Keirin Ramen. I had their stir-fried chicken and bamboo shoots set meal there.

It was kind of a seedy place, but the food was good. Satisfied, I continued stumbling my way back toward the station, passing a large park along the way where kids, teenagers, and even parents were hanging out, skateboarding, playing soccer, monkeying around on a large playground, and more.

I looooved this place, even though it was odd in that it was in the shadow of some tall office towers and malls right next to it as well. This place was called Kinshi Park, and it had such a chill and relaxing atmosphere, especially when some music broke out over the loudspeakers at 5:30 pm for about a minute or so. There were lots of local families hanging out here, chatting to each other or watching over their children, and I just loved the community feeling that I got from it.

But I needed to pull myself away and stagger home, and so I did, passing a big donut that was about as broken as I was:

Oddly it was only about 230 yen to get home to Higasho-Jujo Station from here, even though it involved a train transfer, and I crawled home safely, took an amazing shower, and swore never to leave again.

As a sidenote, while I had put 5,000 yen into my Pasmo transit card from Kyoto when I had arrived here, along with the 200-something yen that it already had on it, that balance was virtually used up by transit and miscellaneous purchases (like the 700 yen gyoza ticket) by the time I arrived back at Higashi-Jujo station, and I emerged from the day’s conflict with 95 yen left on my card. I had a second card with me though, the Suica card from my first trip to Japan back in 2022, and I popped that into the machine and found that it still had 477 yen left. I put another 2,000 yen on it and now am rocking that card instead, trying to see how low it can get before the end of the trip. It would be nice to completely empty either one or the other card. Of course, since I swore never to leave again, I’m not sure where I’m going to use it exactly since my room does not have a transit machine.

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 3

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 5

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