Where The Wind Takes Me – Day 5

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

Saturday, Apr 27 2024 (Day 5)

Days 5 and 6 of the Japan leg of my trip are two of my three convention days, and they’re conventions that, while I’m interested in their topic in general, I don’t know all that much about *and* each one has very little English signage on it to boot, so most of them just involve me walking around and taking pictures and experiencing things like a dry sponge experiences water.

For this day in particular, Apr 27 2024, I attended an event called Niconico Chokaigi 2024 (English version of site here). Niconico is a Japanese social video website similar to a mix between YouTube and Twitch, and this convention was a mix of  creators, influencers, cosplayers, Vocaloid music producers, singers, anime and game companies, and a hell of a lot of people, putting it somewhere in the same realm as something like Japan’s Twitchcon or Vidcon or whatever the YouTube equivalent would be if YouTube held an annual event like this, together with a strong dose of what one might find at any western anime convention. Niconico Chokaigi 2024 also came paired with a small music CD convention called THE VOC@LOID M@STER 55, with the latter sub-event sharing convention halls and taking up about half a hall spread across two halls within the actual Niconico Chokaigi event itself with its booths of people selling CDs and merchandise related to vocaloids. There was no separate ticket needed to access the Vocaloid Master section of the convention — the main Niconico ticket granted access to the entire thing.

I obtained that ticket online while I was still back in Canada, specifically from this site (local), although that link is year-specific and so will probably be changed for future years. According to the ticket booth a few pictures further down below, there is both an English and a Chinese version of this site meant for overseas visitors, and on the day of the event itself, the reservation can be taken to a special booth to redeem for a general ticket.

Anyway, I know I had promised to never leave my room again yesterday, but that turned out to be unfeasible if I ever want to get back home, so I went out less than an hour after finishing that last blog, as it was a long trip from where I was in Jujo Shopping Street to the Makuhari Messe Convention Center in Chiba. I grabbed breakfast from a stall called Aisaika near my lodging along the way:

The huge cutlet on the left in the first picture, the lotus root sandwich thing from the middle picture, and one skewer (I’m not even sure which one) from the green tray in the third picture. I ate that as I made my way over to Higashi-Jujo Station, and from there I took the train down to Tokyo Station, and then made one transfer onto the Keiyo Line, which would take me all the way to Kaihimmakuhari Station, the closest train station to Makuhari Messe.

Niconico Chokaigi 2024

The trip was long and boring, and the trains, especially the Keiyo Line one, was very packed, and I’d like to give a shout out in general to the 10+ minute transit on foot that I had to do to get from the Keihin-Tohoku Line to the Keiyo Line in Tokyo Station itself. Even though it was all indoors, that was an extremely long walk through throngs of crowds. There was an equally large throng when disembarking at the Kaihimmakuhari Station, however most of the throng was headed toward the same location as I was by that point, so it was nice that I didn’t have to pull out my phone or anything to figure out where to head — I just followed the crowd.

The ePlus booth for overseas visitor tickets was small and easy to miss, even though the confirmation email had even sent me a map clearly marking out where the tent was.

The guy manning the booth actually spoke good English, but mistakenly directed me up the stairs instead of around the side of the building. That or the attendant who told me to go back down and around the side was mistaken because they had never seen overseas tickets before. I’m not sure. I believe I was indeed supposed to go down and around though, as there were signs that said that to get inside the convention center itself, priority pass holders could go up a flight of stairs and right into the center from there, while everyone else had to make a large loop around the outside of the center and enter from another set of doors. This was very stupid.

The event itself was spread out over three convention halls. I took a picture of one of the halls from up on a landing, and it looked something like this:

And that was around maybe 1/3 of the total event area only. It was pretty huge. There were lots of stages with livestreamed events going on in the first hall, things like a poker game, mock fights, idol groups and musical groups and punk groups and solo singers dancing and singing, fan events featuring Vocaloid characters or cosplayers, and more. It was very, very, very loud and aurally confusing, so I kind of tuned a lot of it out by listening to Twitch over my phone instead, as one of the main streamers that I follow there, Nomakk, had just had to put down his cat, Jackson, about four days prior, and this was his first streaming day back after a break. He still broke down a couple times over his lengthy stream while describing the events of the last few days to his Twitch chat, and that memory imprinted on me together with the memory of walking around the outside of the convention centre and then all around and between the halls and booths once I got in.

A slightly curated, but still big dump of pictures follow, largely because I don’t know enough about the subculture nor understand the language enough to know even half of what I saw or heard.

Outside of the livestreaming stages that I described earlier, there were mascots, pachinko machines, table booths selling CDs and acrylic stands and postcards and other merch, plenty of photo op places, official game and anime studio booths selling food and merchandise as well, cars with fancy anime deisgns on them, a cosplay photo area between the convention halls, a ton of mascot characters that I did not recognize, and a lot more. A lot of people were photographing or livestreaming the event, though there were a small but decent number of concert booths and such that prohibited photography and video, especially during performances.

There was a Gift store too, which is a store that sells Touhou related plushies, but the only ones they had here were plushies that were just character heads, or plushies that cost over 10,000 yen, no mid-range ones like the Patchouli one that I got from the last Touhou Reitaisai that I visited. I’m going to visit one of those next week again though and hopefully they have a better selection there, as I have come to really like the one that I have.

There were also weird sights, even by the standards of this sort of convention, to be seen as I wandered around, like a girl being hoisted up and carried around by bare-chested men in tight pants and butler collars:

There was also a sizable food section, taking up about half a hall, and this curry rice line in particular was really long:

Here’s a mascot standing in front of an instant noodle purchase-and-immediately-cook-it store:

And there was a row of snack booths along one wall:

There were food and drink vans too, several with tie-ins to games or shows or other multimedia franchises. In the end, all I got from the food section was this:

It was a cup of kezuri ichigo, which I think meant strawberry shavings, but it was basically frozen strawberry cut up into many little chunks and, I believe, with a little bit of some sort of cream on it. It was great and I wonder if I could make something like that by myself back home.

There were also a fair number of booths and people giving away free stuff — I saw people walking by with an armful of different bags that different stores were giving out. I ended up with two bags myself, one of them specific to the event and the other one with some characters printed on it from some company that I didn’t recognize. I also picked up a free umaibo snack (I am fond of and have mentioned this snack in previous blog posts, like this one) from a store in return for scanning their QR code, and picked up five free CDs from an underground idol group that was giving away their music in between song and dance performances. I picked up a couple other CDs that seemed to be linked to an event named Mag Fes 2024 as well, plus a random CD from some creator table that I was passing by, so my CD haul for the day (half of which was free) looked like this:

I didn’t get any CDs from the Vocaloid Master part of the convention because I don’t know much about Vocaloid music at all, though I ran the event by Mart to ask if he wanted anything from there, and after checking some XFDs (crossfades) for the CDs being sold there, he said no.

It was pretty dizzying and tiring, all in all, but quite fun. I do enjoy experiencing conventions in general and I like looking at people and their costumes. There were resting areas up and above the convention centres, away from the noise, but by the time I found those my social and convention energy was down to near zero and my feet were mutinying as always so I was on my way out the hall already. I retraced my steps and took the exact same sequence of trains in reverse, and headed right back home, never to move again.

Or so I would have liked to say that I did, but I knew that one stop north of my “home base” Higashi-Jujo Station was Akabane Station, where an event called the Akabane Baka festival was taking place. This involved some sort of parade on the next day, Sunday Apr 28, but I wouldn’t be around for that since I was scheduled to be in the M3 music convention then. Supposedly there were also some vendor stalls and such on Saturday though, as it was technically a two day event, and I decided to stop off there to see what there was.

The station itself was very busy, and there was a big commercial area just outside the northeast gate of the station, where the festival stall booths were also set up. This turned out to be immensely disappointing though, while most of the stalls were open, the total number of stalls here were maybe equal to the number of *open* stalls yesterday at the Kameido Tenjin Shrine, which I had visited near the end of the day when most of the stalls had already started shutting down. So about ten or so.

There was nothing else to write about here, but since I was a cheapskate and did niot really want to pay for the train fare just to travel one stop home, I decided to walk back home from Akabane Station instead, which was about a 25 minute walk. I cut this into half by stopping off at a restaurant named Inanoya for dinner, a stall with no menu or opening time placard or anything outside the door, and an all-Japanese menu with no pictures inside the store, but the most fantastic soba I had ever had and my best meal in Japan so far this trip:

This was Curry Nanban Soba, and it cost 720 yen. Eating it with that wooden ladle was really interesting. The curry was so rich and thick and nice, and the soba so easy to eat, that I left them a positive Google review for my meal before continuing my crawl home, eventually passing by the pretty evening streets northeast of the Higashi-Jujo Station, and cutting through it to get back home to Jujo Shopping Street.

Among other bookkeeping things that I did this evening, I withdrew a bunch of money this evening from a 7-Eleven ATM while the Japanese yen was cheap, and since I would need cold, hard cash the next day while shopping at M3. And since I did it against my Scotiabank debit card instead of the RBC debit card, I believe I incurred no additional fees for this outside of a 220 yen fee that the machine charges.

I also cancelled my Airbnb booking for my second Tokyo stint later this week, and rebooked another location nearby for one extra day instead, so I will be in Osaka from Apr 29 to May 02 and then back in Tokyo from May 02 to May 06. I tried to rebook a shinkansen ticket too to see if I could meet up with Ran somehow, but it doesn’t look like we’ll actually meet up this trip due to scheduling conflicts. After that, I also booked a flight to Taiwan for the very early morning of May 06. I haven’t booked my accommodation yet, but I expect to be there for about maybe 5 days or so before jetting off for Guangzhou via Hong Kong.

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 4

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Where The Wind Takes Me - Day 6

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